As many as a third of young British drivers have taken a selfie while at the wheel, according to a survey by Ford.
1/4 of European drivers use social media while driving
The survey, which collated data from 7,000 smartphone users aged between 18 and 24 across Europe, also showed that a quarter of European drivers had used social media sites while driving.
According to the data, such behaviour is worse amongst young British people than any other European country surveyed, with male drivers being the worst offenders.
While 33 per cent of Brits aged between 18 and 24 admitting taking a selfie while driving, 28 per cent of French and German drivers admitted the same.
Around 27 per cent of Romanian drivers admitted to it, while Italy, Spain and Belgium clocked in at 26 per cent, 18 per cent and 17 per cent respectively.
Selfies distract drivers for up to 14 seconds
Ford have said that taking a selfie at the wheel could distract drivers for as long as 14 seconds, while checking social media sites distracts for up to 20 seconds. Travelling at 60mph, that’s enough time to travel the entirety of five football pitches.
Jim Graham, manager of Ford’s Driving Skills for Life programme, said: “Taking a selfie has for many young people quickly become an integral part of everyday life. But it’s the last thing you should be doing behind the wheel of a car.”
He continued: “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.”
As a result, Ford has released a video highlighting the dangers of using smartphones behind the wheel, and the company is also expanding its Ford Driving Skills for Life programme across the UK.
The free-to-attend programme will be in Glasgow throughout September before moving on to Gaydon and Chobham in early October and will offer hands-on training to young drivers.
As part of the training scheme, participants will have to undertake manoeuvres at slow speed while taking a selfie with a professional instructor beside them to demonstrate how much it can distract them from driving.
Expert guidance will also be provided to show the importance of early hazard recognition and space management.
As well as that, Ford has pioneered a wide range of safety technologies and recently tested its revised Active City Stop technology on the busy streets of Paris.
The revolutionary technology was designed to help drivers avoid collisions at low speeds, scanning the road ahead for obstructions and automatically applying the brakes if a threat is detected.
Available on a range of models including the Focus and C-MAX from 2011, the newest updated version of the technology will be included in the new Focus model, due to go on sale in the UK later this year.