Fifth of motorists use social media when driving

Mobile car

Over a fifth of drivers check social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter whilst behind the wheel, research has shown.

Despite laws preventing motorists from using mobiles while driving, the number who admitted to taking calls when on the road has risen from eight per cent to 28 per cent, the RAC sponsored poll showed.

More than half of respondents to the survey said they had checked who a call was from when on the road, while almost a third admitted to texting when at the wheel, up from 11 per cent when compared to last year.

"Taking your eye off the road, just for a second, to read an alert or check who a call came from can have potentially fatal results," said Adrian Tink, RAC Motoring Strategist.

"This steep rise in mobile phone usage at the wheel could potentially be set to continue as more and more people embrace smartphone technology."

Even though many appear to be flouting the law, over 51 per cent of respondents said the current stipulation that offenders get points on their driving licence is the best deterrent to stop people using a hand-held mobile device behind the wheel.

The RAC recommended either having a phone on silent or completely off when driving. It also suggested using a hands-free device or simply pulling over to a safe place if the driver is desperate to use their phone.

"The desire for people to be keep in touch and up-to-date is ever increasing and drivers no longer accept their car as a white spot' of connectivity," said Martin Reber, chief executive of SVOX, a specialist in embedded speech solutions.

"If drivers insist on staying connected, they need to start using solutions such as text-to-speech and voice recognition in the car so that they can have their emails, voicemails, texts and tweets read aloud, they can make calls and they can control their navigation system without removing their hands from the wheel."

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.