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One in four drivers takes selfie at wheel

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: September 02, 2014

By Rob Smyth

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A NEW survey has revealed one in four young drivers has admitted to taking a selfie while behind the wheel.

The statistics, released by car giant Ford, showed a quarter of 18 to 24- year-olds from Burton and South Derbyshire had taken a photo of themselves and uploaded it to a social network site while navigating roads in the area.

The same number have used sites such as Facebook and Twitter while driving, but young men in the area were more likely to take the risk than women. Fifty per cent of youngsters have taken a photo while driving.

A spokesman for road safety charity Brake said: "This is a case of selfie selfishness. Using a phone in any way at the wheel dramatically increases the risk of crashing and killing or seriously injuring someone. It is very worrying to see the numbers engaging in this dangerous behaviour, particularly younger drivers who are already at higher risk of crashing due to age and inexperience."

Brake said penalties should be tougher, while the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) called for a police clampdown.

Neil Greig, IAM's director of policy and research, said: "This seems to be another form of peer pressure to take part in the latest trend.

"The best way to avoid it is to give young people the skills to stand up for themselves and not follow the herd and post silly photographs online.

"The IAM wants to see more traffic police out there catching bad drivers, but this survey would seem to suggest not even that will stop those addicted to using their smartphones."

Driving while holding a mobile phone has been illegal since 2003. Most offences will be dealt with by way of three penalty points and a £60 fixed penalty notice, but if the matter goes to a court hearing the fine can be £1,000 plus a driving ban.

Latest figures suggest one road death every fortnight is directly related to mobile phone use.

Burton's top cop Chief Inspector Steve Maskrey said: "Road safety is a big priority for police in East Staffordshire. People should understand, though, that it is not worth taking risks on the roads because you can end up having to be dealt with by the police, but more importantly their actions could have devastating consequences."

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