The Institute of Advanced Motorists has revealed figures that show 1 in 10 drivers have taken a selfie while driving in the past month. Men are more likely to have done it but, surprisingly, it is not the youngest generation of drivers that are guilty of this reckless habit. 25 to 35 year olds are more likely to snap themselves driving, or even watch TV and video on their phones while driving.
The IAM has warned that it is not only illegal to do any of these things, but it means that the driver will not be able to concentrate fully on the road, meaning that they will be more likely to cause or be involved in an accident. The number of drivers given penalty points for this type of activity dropped by 40% in 2014, although it is likely that this drop was caused by a reduced number of police patrols on roads and motorways.
Using a mobile phone to text or call while driving is an offence that carries three penalty points and a fine of £100 if dealt with by way of a Fixed Penalty Notice. If the case goes to court, then the potential fine could be as much as £1,000, and if the driver was responsible for an accident or injury because of their action then more serious charges may be brought.
The government has mooted plans to further increase the fine to £200, having increased it from £60 in 2013 already. They have said that the original increase has not proven enough of a deterrent and that doubling it again could prove to be the only way to ensure that fewer people risk their own lives and the lives of others.
15% of 18 to 24 year olds admitted to taking a selfie while driving, but 19% of 25 to 35 year olds admitted to the same thing. Only 5% of female respondents were guilty of the offence, compared to 12% of men. 8% of all respondents have used a video calling service while driving, 7% have watched video streaming TV, and 18% have accessed the Internet on their mobile phone or tablet while behind the wheel.