UK study: Motorists using phones while driving triples in a year

The number of motorists who admit to taking calls and sending text messages while on the road has tripled in a year, rising from 8% to 28% and 11% to 31% respectively, according to the 2010 RAC Report on Motoring.

Furthermore, over a third (39%) of UK motorists admit to being distracted by calls, texts and social media applications on their mobile phones while they are driving, according to new research figures released by the RAC.

This research found that on an average car journey of 23 minutes, a motorist’s phone rings or beeps at least once. Just over half of (53%) motorists admit they are likely to take their eyes of the road to see who a call is from and 45% admit they would look to see who a text is from. Young drivers (17-24 year olds) are most likely to glance at their phones while driving if it rings or beeps (58%).

More than one in five of motorists (21%) admit they are likely to check a social media alert from applications such as Facebook and Twitter while driving. The top five social media sites and applications which motorists admitted to using while on the road (either stationary with the engine running, or driving) are:

1. Email – 11%
2. Google Maps – 9%
3. Music – 9%
4. Photos – 8%
5. Facebook – 7%

Almost half (46%) of all motorists who receive calls when they are driving claim not to be distracted by them, and 47% believe texting on the road does not divert their attention from driving. However figures from the Department of Transport show that 509 people in 2009 were hurt in accidents caused by drivers distracted using their mobile phone, with 16% seriously injured or killed.

Many motorists think it is permissible to use mobile phones while driving when the car is not moving. Over a quarter (26%) believes it is acceptable to use phones (for calling, texting and social media) at traffic lights, a third (33%) believe using a phone in a lay-by is permissible, and 9% say using phones while stuck in traffic is reasonable.

Read more here.

Image courtesy: Intomobile.

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