Analysis of Ministry of Justice data by insurer Direct Line found that more than 13,000 motorists are convicted over mobile phone offences annually.
A poll of 2,002 UK adults indicated that the habit is much more widespread, with 29% admitting to using their phone behind the wheel in the last 12 months.
Since March 2017, motorists caught using a hand-held phone have faced incurring six points on their licence and a £200 fine - up from the previous penalty of three points and £100.
Steve Barrett, head of motor insurance at Direct Line, said: "Driving using a mobile phone should be as socially unacceptable as drink driving, as it is both dangerous and illegal.
"It only takes a second with eyes off the road or being distracted by a mobile phone for a life altering accident to happen, or for a driver to find themselves facing prosecution and a criminal record.
"With new technology available to the police that uses sensors to detect if a driver is using their phone, people are at greater risk of prosecution for these offences than ever before.
"It is worrying that the majority of law-abiding drivers are being put at risk by those who allow themselves to be distracted behind the wheel."