Derbyshire road safety chiefs issue warning about going online and taking selfies behind the wheel

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Derbyshire road safety chiefs have issued a warning after research revealed that nearly a fifth of drivers go online using their phone or tablet while driving.

The survey by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) also found that nine per cent of drivers have taken a selfie while driving in the last month, eight per cent of motorists take part in video calls on the road and seven per cent of drivers watch videos or catch-up TV behind the wheel.

Matt Pickard, of the Derby and Derbyshire Road Safety Partnership, said: “Please don’t put lives at risk by driving while distracted.

“If you’re using a mobile or tablet you can’t give the road your full attention – and a split-second lapse in concentration could result in a crash.”

He added: “Getting distracted by technology is an even bigger problem among younger drivers, according to the survey.

“Breaking down the figures by age group reveals that more than a third of 25 to 34-year-olds and over a quarter of 18 to 24-year-olds go online while driving.”

IAM’s chief executive officer Sarah Sillars said: “Everyone knows how dangerous using a smartphone or tablet is while driving. That’s why it’s shocking to see new trends like taking selfies and making video calls becoming common practice.

“Safe driving is everyone’s responsibility and more must be done to catch drivers using these devices dangerously by increasing the fines and points for smartphone and tablet use at the wheel – there is simply no excuse.

“Campaigns must also be introduced that raise awareness of the prevalence of the issue in society and make this behaviour socially unacceptable as drink-driving.”