Are motorists being tempted by social media into videoing themselves whilst driving?
According to a new survey, one in seven drivers admitted to recording themselves whilst in control of a vehicle
New research carried out by the RAC claims that one in seven drivers have actually recorded themselves or taken a selfie using their mobile device whilst in control of a vehicle. Just as worrying is the fact that 14% of motorists admitted that they’d considered videoing themselves whilst driving.
Nearly one third (31%) of motorists confessed to making calls on their mobile phone whilst driving. In 2014, only 8% of those questioned admitted to using a mobile device whilst behind the wheel of a vehicle – a 23% rise in a relatively short period of time.
The survey also found that just over a quarter (26%) of drivers admitted to checking text messages and social media apps whilst behind the wheel and almost one in five (19%) said they had posted updates on Facebook and Twitter – up from 7% in just two years.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling recently suggested that using mobile phones whilst in control of a vehicle should be regarded as socially unacceptable, in the same way as drink-driving is considered throughout the country.
The government now plans to introduce stricter punishments in order to tackle the issue: a fine increase from £100 to £200 and six points on the driver’s licence rather than the three-point penalty that’s currently in place.
The RAC would look favourably upon the new laws if they were introduced in the UK, as they claim the use of mobile devices was “the biggest road safety concern amongst motorists today.”
According to the British roadside recovery company, motorists across the country are more than happy to risk using their handheld mobiles whilst driving and the fact that there’s been a 27% decline in police officers out on the roads in England and Wales between 2010 and 2015 (excludes London), means drivers are willing to flout the laws, as more often than not they’re “getting away with it.”
This year, the RAC surveyed a total of 1,714 drivers and the figures released for 2016 form part of the company’s annual Report on Motoring, which is now in its 28th year.
Findings from the 2016 report were checked against previous years to compare changes in drivers’ attitude whilst out on the roads, and the continuing use of mobile phones was the biggest cause for concern for the RAC.
Pete Williams, the spokesman for RAC road safety, said: “There is clear evidence that the illegal use of handheld phones by drivers to talk, text, tweet, post, browse and even video call is, if anything, on the increase.”
Figures released by the Department for Transport (DfT), revealed that drivers distracted by mobile phones was a contributing factor in 492 road accidents in the UK in 2014, 21 of which were fatal and 84 regarded as serious.
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