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Drivers admit ‘Tweeting’ at the wheel in survey

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 11, 2013

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POLICE have issued a warning to drivers in Burton after new figures revealed that the number of motorists who admit to texting whilst driving has doubled in the space of a year - while those who confess to using social media have quadrupled.

The results – which reveal more than a third of drivers now admit to regularly checking a text, email, or accessing social media while at the wheel - come as Staffordshire Police continued to crackdown on the use of hand-held mobile phones by motorists.

Thirty-five per cent of drivers admitted reading text messages, rising to 57 per cent among under 25s, while almost one in five have gone onto social networking sites, such as Twitter, or used the internet.

Overall 48 per cent of drivers admitted to taking or making a call at least once and 36 per cent confessed to committing the offence at least once a week.

Just over half of motorists admit they are likely to take their eyes of the road to see who a call is from and 45 per cent admit they would look to see who a text is from.

Yet, despite this, one in three think the police should crack down on offenders and three quarters of those questioned feel the current legislation is not properly enforced, though 24 per cent feel it is acceptable to use phone at traffic lights or when in stationary traffic.

A spokesman for Staffordshire Police said: “The force prefers to educate drivers rather than to punish drivers as statistical information shows that a driver is 13 times more likely to re-offend after being issued with a financial penalty rather than receiving education after an offence.”

The annual study by Halfords marks the sixth anniversary of tougher legal sanctions being introduced to discourage the use of hand-held phones, or similar devices, when driving - which saw fixed penalty fines rise to £60 and three penalty points being added to an offenders’ licences. A spokesman for the firm said: “These findings paint a disturbing picture of what is happening on the roads.”

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