Nearly 20% young drivers in UK take selfies behind wheels

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Using a mobile phone while driving is against the law and despite heavy fines for such behaviour more and more people in the UK are using smartphones to not only place calls and send messages, but to take selfies and even place video calls.

According to a new survey by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), one in every five motorists uses their smartphone to capture a selfie while driving. The results also showed that nine per cent of drivers admitted to taking a selfie while driving ‘in the last month’.

The usage percentage increases to 15 per cent of young drivers aged 18-24 and 19 per cent of 25-35 year olds. The survey found that men are more selfie-obsessed behind wheels at 12 per cent compared to just 5 per cent of Women who said they had taken a selfie while driving.

Beyond selfies, motorists are using their smartphones to place video calls as well with eight per cent of drivers admitting to have driven a car while on a video-call. This numbers increases to 16 per cent in the age group of 18 to 24 year olds.

The survey, wherein 500 drivers were asked how they use their smartphones and tablets in the car, also found that seven per cent of drivers watched videos and streamed catch-up television while driving, with the number rising to 13 per cent of drivers in the age group of 18-24 and 15 per cent of 25-32 year olds.

Eighteen per cent of drivers have accessed the internet using their smartphone or tablet, rising to 27 per cent of drivers aged 18-24 and 34 per cent of drivers aged 25-34.

Despite all these findings, a startling fact is that there has been a marked drop in the number of drivers given penalty points for using a smartphone at the wheel. According to official numbers from Department of Transport, there has been a decline of 40 per cent in number of drivers given penalty points for such a behaviour in 2014.

IAM’s chief executive officer, Sarah Sillars said that the latest trends are shocking owing to the fact that everyone is aware about the dangers of using a smartphone while driving.

Sillars urged for starting campaigns that raise awareness of the prevalence of the issue in society and make this behaviour socially unacceptable as drink-driving”.