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One in five drivers think it's acceptable to use a mobile phone behind the wheel, insurance firm LV= has found.

According to data obtained in a Freedom of Information request by the company, on average 100,000 motorists are fined for using a mobile phone behind the wheel every year.

But only a fraction of mobile phone use while driving is actually detected, as one in three drivers admit to using their phone at the wheel.

Of those who admit to using their hand-held mobile behind the wheel, more than three quarters (77 per cent) will answer calls and half (49 per cent) will text. Many motorists also access the internet on their phones while in control of a vehicle, using their devices to look at emails, check directions and to log-on to social networking sites.

In the last 12 months alone more than 350,000 motorists admit have had an accident or come close to having one as a result of being distracted by their mobile phones whilst driving.

And one in 20 say they think it's unlikely that they will get caught and admit they are undeterred by the current punishment of three penalty points and a £60 fine.

John O'Roarke, managing director of LV= car insurance, said: "It's been nearly ten years since legislation banning the use of hand-held phones when driving was introduced, so it's worrying to see that many motorists are continuing to use their devices when on the road.

"While it can seem tempting for people to use their phones at the wheel, whilst driving they should always pull over to make a call, send a text or browse the internet. By not doing so they risk points, a fine, or even worse causing an accident."

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