42% of drivers are illegally using hands-held mobiles behind the wheel, with some even taking pictures of crashes, according to an AA/Populus survey (Press Association).
Of the 42% of respondents who admitted to using mobile phones while driving, 60% said it had distracted them.
As many as 74% of the 21,000 drivers polled said they had seen others using mobile phones on some or most journeys, with 25% seeing mobiles being used on all trips they make.
Around 20% admitted using a mobile to send a text; 4% checked emails; 2% sent emails; 2% read Twitter or Facebook updates; and 1% even tweeted while driving.
The AA said police in Northamptonshire recorded 80 drivers using phones or cameras to photograph emergency services attempting a four-and-a-half-hour rescue of a 21-year-old driver trapped in her crashed truck on the M1 in August.
Edmund King, AA president, said: “Drivers need to concentrate on driving rather than be distracted by digital technology. Our research shows that some drivers are now using their smart phones for more than talking on the move. It is really not smart to talk, text or tweet on the move.
“Digital rubber-neckers who photograph crashes really are morbid voyeurs who should be concentrating on the road, not the victims of crashes. It beggars belief that these macabre motorists should put their lives and others at risk through their lust for twisted metal.
“We would like to see the police target more mobile phone abusers so that the message gets out that it is not worth hanging on the telephone while driving.
“However, we have seen a 29% reduction in traffic police in the last decade so their resources are stretched.”
Click here to read the full Press Association report.