• 22 per cent of drivers aged 18-24 admit to checking Facebook while driving
  • Four in 10 drivers admit using phones behind the wheel 
  • One in five drivers aged 18-24 own up to using Snapchat or Instagram while driving
  • Social media and FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) could be putting road-users at risk, as motorists admit to checking social networking sites and reading messages on their phones while driving
  • Despite this, drivers are ‘appalled’ at prospect of legalising mobile phone use while driving

A poll carried out by insurer Aviva found that four in 10 people questioned (42 per cent) had used their phone at some point while driving for reasons other than hands-free calls – yet members of the public are appalled at the idea of legalising mobile phone use while driving.

The poll suggested that drivers aged 24 and under are most likely to be using their devices while in charge of a motor vehicle. Two thirds questioned (66 per cent) said they had used their mobile phones while driving, with four in 10 (40 per cent) reading text messages and one in five (22 per cent) using Facebook. Around one in five in this age group also admitted to checking photo sharing apps such as Snapchat (19 per cent) and Instagram (21 per cent).

The research showed that across all age groups, the most popular reasons for picking up mobiles while behind the wheel were to answer calls (not hands free) and to use sat-nav facilities. However, usage of other apps and functions was evident, particularly amongst younger drivers.

Peter Markey, brand and marketing communications director for Aviva said: “Driving while using a hand-held mobile phone is illegal, including when the car is stationary but still in use, so it’s shocking to see how many people are still breaking the law and potentially putting other road users at risk. At Aviva unfortunately we see every day the often devastating consequences of where people haven’t been concentrating while driving, so we’re urging people to take action and put down their phones.”

Aviva has just launched a short video which ‘turns the phone debate on its head’. In the film an actor asks members of the public to sign a petition to legalise all mobile phone usage while driving. Unsurprisingly the video shows that people are appalled by the prospect. The film can be seen at www.youtube.com/user/AvivaUK.

“As part of our crusade to make Britain’s roads safer, we recently took to the streets to ask people whether they would like to legalise using phones while driving,” Peter continued. “Unsurprisingly an overwhelming majority of people questioned were horrified at the prospect, yet still too many people are taking their eyes off the roads because they can’t wait to check that message – or even upload that photo!

“The more we can do to improve safety on our roads, the better, so let’s stick to the law and put our phones down until we’re parked up and it’s safe and legal to use them.”

The poll carried out by Aviva questioned 1,565 drivers.