The not-so-smart drivers
New research by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) reveals the shocking extent to which drivers use their phones and tablets to take selfies, make video calls and watch videos while driving.
The findings come from research commissioned this month exclusively by the IAM, which asked 500 drivers how they use their smartphones and tablets in the car.
Results show that 9% of drivers admitted to taking a selfie while driving ‘in the last month’. This increases to 15% of young drivers aged 18-24 and 19% of 25-35-year-olds. Women are less selfie-obsessed than men, with just 5% of women citing that they have taken a selfie while driving, compared to 12% of men.
Another 8% of drivers admitted to driving while using a video-calling application such as FaceTime and Skype to make and receive video calls, rising to 16% among 18 to 24-year-olds.
An IAM study in 2012 showed that using a smartphone while driving is more dangerous than driving at the legal alcohol limit or when using cannabis. Drivers have much slower reaction times, difficulty staying in the same lane and are less able to adapt to even slowly changing circumstances.
IAM’s chief executive officer, Sarah Sillars, said: “Everyone knows how dangerous using a smartphone or tablet is while driving. That’s why it is shocking to see new trends such as 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.
“Campaigns must also be introduced that raise awareness of the prevalence of the issue in society and make this behaviour as socially unacceptable as drink-driving,” she said.