When one driver was recently filmed watching an episode of Masterchef on a tablet device mounted in her car as she made her way through the morning rush hour traffic, Brits were rightly appalled by this apparent lack of concern for other road users. However, according to one road charity, the issue is far more widespread and concerning than most people may imagine.
The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has said that its new survey shows the shocking extent to which people are now increasingly making use of tablets, smartphones and other devices while behind the wheel, which could be putting themselves and other drivers in danger.
In the survey of 1,000 drivers, IAM said that nine per cent admitted they have taken a selfie while they are driving in the last month. The figure rises for younger drivers as well, with some 15 per cent of under 25s saying they had done so and 19 per cent of people aged 25 to 34 admitting the same.
Men are also far more likely than women to take a selfie behind the wheel, with some 12 per cent of men saying they had done so, compared to only five per cent of women.
Elsewhere, eight per cent of all drivers said they had made use of a video calling application while they are driving, while seven per cent even shockingly said that they had watched a video while they are behind the wheel.
Eighteen per cent also said that they had made use of the internet while in charge of a vehicle, making it by far the most common offence caused by drivers. However, despite this rise in the number of people breaking the law while using their mobile devices, the number of drivers who were actually fined for doing so dropped 40 per cent in the last year.
IAM’s chief executive officer, Sarah Sillars said: “Everyone knows how dangerous using a smartphone or tablet is while driving. That’s why it’s shocking to see new trends like taking selfies and making video calls becoming common practice.
“Safe driving is everyone’s responsibility and more must be done to catch drivers using these devices dangerously by increasing the fines and points for smartphone and tablet use at the wheel – there is simply no excuse."
Posted by Danielle Barge