‘Selfies’ are everywhere; you can’t go on Facebook, instagram or any other social media network without seeing a plethora of selfies. But it seems carefree young drivers have been getting in on the act whilst behind the wheel of their car.
Research by the Ford Motor Company revealed that 33% of Britons aged between 18 and 24 had admitted to posing for a selfie at the same time as driving. Out of the seven countries surveyed Britain came out worse with Germany and France at 28%, Romania 27%, Italy 26%, Spain 18% and Belgium 17%.
Leading UK law firm, Accident Advice Helpline commented on the phenomenon stating “The use of a mobile phone when driving is a highly dangerous distraction meaning you will be less alert to dangers and obstacles in front of you.”
The survey was conducted on 7,000 smartphone users across Europe and said 25% claimed they had used social media sites behind the wheel, with male drivers being the worst offenders for this. Ford said that snapping a selfie on the road can distract a driver for 14 seconds while checking social media distracts drivers for as much as 20 seconds; if you’re driving at 60mph that’s long enough to travel the length of five football pitches.
Jim Graham the manager of Ford’s Driving Skills for Life programme said “It is deeply worrying that so many young drivers admit to taking a photo while driving and we will be doing all we can to highlight the potential dangers through driver education.”
The survey was produced as the number of deaths on roads rose at an alarming rate during the first part of this year; and experts are warning that smartphones could be to blame. There were 380 road deaths within the first 3 months of 2014- 13% more than in the same period last year. Cyclist fatalities and serious injuries increased 27% to 690 which proves that there are also signs of increasing conflicts between cyclists sharing congested road space with cars.
Accident Advice Helpline commented “Too many road accidents happen because of distracted driving yet it’s all too common to see a driver clutching a mobile phone. Even taking your eyes off the road for a few seconds can be long enough to drive into trouble; if you need to use your mobile phone that urgently then stop in a safe place and do it away from driving.”
RAC technical driver David Bizley added that “Mobile phone use has been a problem for some time and there’s not been enough action to tackle it. Using a hand-held phone or texting while driving must be made socially unacceptable.”
Ford Driving Skills for life was launched in the US 10 years ago and has provided hands-on training to over 100,000 young drivers across the world. The European programme has been rolled out in UK, Germany, France, Italy, Romania, Spain and Belgium. As part of future training participants will undertake slow speed manoeuvres while taking a ‘selfies’ on a closed facility with a professional instructor beside them. This sort of training could be invaluable in teaching young drivers of the hazards behind their behaviour.
You can call Accident Advice Helpline at any time on 0800 689 0500 to speak to an adviser if you’ve been involved in a road traffic accident. They will be able to let you know if you are entitled to make a compensation claim for your injury and talk you through the process.
Date Published: September 8, 2014
Author: David Brown