Over 15% of van drivers have had their license endorsed within the past five years compared with just 7% of car drivers.

The survey also revealed that van drivers, many owning small businesses, were six times more likely to have been caught using a hand-held mobile phone while driving with 2.4% having collected an offence compared with just 0.4% of car drivers.

AA Insurance boss Simon Douglas called the significantly higher number of convictions for van drivers “astonishing” but put it down to the pressure to get between jobs quickly while keeping customers in the loop.

“They’re clearly getting stung for it,” he said, “not just with fines and the risk of losing their license, but increased insurance premiums too.”

Douglas said that while speeding offences were usually recorded by a roadside camera, mobile phone convictions tended to result from a police officer witnessing the offence. This led to a lot of van drivers in urban environments such as London getting caught using mobile phones when stuck in traffic.

Although both offences carry the same penalty – a £60 fine and three points – Douglas said insurers penalised mobile phone abuses more heavily.

“Our own research shows that on average, offenders can expect their insurance premium to increase by 9.3% for a single speeding offence and 18.5% if they have been convicted of using a hand-held phone.”

He claimed insurers’ statistics suggested using a mobile phone while driving doubled the risk of a collision.

“You might accidentally drift over a speed limit.  No-one accidentally uses a mobile phone or sends a text,” he said.