The RAC has said that laws against the use of mobile phones while driving are "not working" after a after a survey revealed that a worrying proportion of drivers are flouting them, with some even going as far as to take selfies while behind the wheel.
The organisation has called for a "united campaign" with the aim of making driving while using a mobile phone as socially unacceptable as drink driving.
The results of the survey, which was produced by Confused.com, show that large numbers of drivers are ignoring laws about driving while using a mobile phone, the fine for which rose last year from £60 to £100.
In fact, more than a third of drivers in the survey admitted to having used a mobile phone while driving, with around 9 per cent saying they’d been involved in a crash as a direct result.
Meanwhile, just over 7 per cent of motorists said that they had taken a selfie while driving.
The recent popularity of the selfie – a picture of oneself, usually taken on a mobile phone – has led to many people trying to impress friends by taking them in unusual or amusing situations.
It’s thought that some drivers are capturing images of themselves while on the move in an effort to look daring.
These selfies are then being uploaded to social networking sites, often with hashtags such as #DrivingSelfies, #LookMumNoHands, or even #LuckyWeDidntCrash.
“Taking a ‘selfie’ on your phone, talking or, for that matter texting, at the wheel of a vehicle is adding a massive physical distraction and impediment to being fully in control of your vehicle which is why it is illegal to do so,” says Pete Williams of the RAC.
“Our own research has revealed that 21% of motorists admit to using a hand-held phone when at the wheel which amounts to more than seven million drivers on the road and yet only 575,000 drivers have been prosecuted for doing so.
“With enforcement appearing not to be working we perhaps need to talk less of fines and more about how we create a united campaign that aims to make speaking, texting and using social media on a hand-held mobile as socially unacceptable as drinking and driving.”