The price comparison website Confused.com says that ‘worrying numbers of motorists’ are taking photos while driving and then sharing them via social networking sites.
The findings are from research published today (20 March) by Confused.com in which nearly one in 14 respondents (7%) admitted to having taken a photograph while in control of a vehicle. One in 20 (4%) also claimed to use the social media app ‘Snapchat’ to send photos to friends while driving.
The figures come from an online poll of 2,000 UK motorists in February 2014 carried out by One Poll Research on behalf of Confused.com.
The poll indicates that young drivers are the worst culprits, with nearly one in 10 (9%) of respondents aged 18-24 years claiming to use Snapchat to take photos behind the wheel. This age group is also the most likely to be distracted by accessing photo sharing sites such as Twitter (8%), Pinterest (5%) and Instagram (5%) when in charge of a vehicle.
The price comparison website says that analysis using the social listening tool Topsy.com found that 287 tweets were tagged either #drivingselfie or #drivingselfies over a recent 30-day period. Confused.com says this suggests that hashtags like these are prompting social media users to take photos of themselves and post them online when behind the wheel.
Wider findings from the research show that more than a third of respondents (36%) admitted to using their mobile phone when driving, with the majority using it to make or answer calls (75%) and send or check texts (43%).
Other common mobile-related activities which the poll highlighted include using sat nav facilities (17%), checking Facebook (11%), flicking through music (7%) and reading emails (5%).
Despite the fact that many respondents admitted to using their phone behind the wheel, less than one in 10 (8%) said they have been caught doing so by police. Of those caught by police, more than half (57%) admitted to continuing to use their phone while driving.
One in seven of those polled (14%) believe that using a mobile phone when driving is justifiable in some circumstances, with almost a quarter (24%) believing that it is acceptable to use a phone behind the wheel to access a sat nav system or to connect to Bluetooth.
Matt Staton, who manages the Road Safety GB twitter feed in partnership with Iain Temperton, worked with Confused.com as spokesperson for Road Safety GB on the dangers of distraction posed by social media. Matt participated in a number of radio interviews on the day this story was release (20 March), and also featured in a video produced on the day – click here to view the video.