Research reveals shocking 'selfie' statistics

Newspaper headlines are testimony to the common-sense bypass evident in some drivers. We have sadly become used to hearing of those who, in the pursuit of the perfect selfie at the wheel, have actually made the ultimate sacrifice and paid for it with their lives.

Now figures released 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.

Shockingly nine per cent of drivers admitted to taking a selfie while driving in the last month alone. And when you drill into the data this increases to 15 per cent of young drivers aged 18-24 and 19 per cent of 25-35 year olds.

Sarah Sillars AM’s chief executive officer remarked: “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.”

Now the Government could step in. Motorists could soon face having a 'drive-safe' mode added to their phones in an attempt to cut road fatalities with phone manufacturers installing the apps as standard.

However, some issues have already been highlighted. Can the technology differentiate between someone driving a car or travelling on public transport for instance?

Officials at the Department for Transport told The Sun Newspaper: "These issues can be overcome."

Other corrective measures are also open to offenders. A course of re-education is an option, with drivers participating at their own expense.

Neil Greig, director of policy and research at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: "Forcing all drivers caught using a hand-held mobile for the first time to attend a re-education course would be a really positive step."

A study by the RAC Foundation found that 60 per cent of drivers would be happy to use a drive-safe mode should it be created.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding told the Press Association: "Reassuringly, the vast majority of people said that they wanted to use technology to check the state of their vehicle and make their journeys easier, not to read Facebook messages, send texts or email the boss."

With nearly 3,700 crashes from 2009-2014 caused by a driver using a phone, this bold move and the use of technology could see a vast improvement in road safety statistics.

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