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Although the use of a handheld mobile phone when driving became a criminal offence 13 years ago this December a recent report on motoring says the number of people who think using their phone while driving is acceptable has doubled in the last two years.
OSV, the UK’s leading independent vehicle supply professionals, have carried out a survey to try and unlock the reasons why. Surprisingly phoning or texting is not the driving force behind the increase in the usage of mobile phones while behind the wheel.
Although we all know it is illegal, drivers are still being tempted, and the main motivation for over a third (34%) of drivers picking up their phone while driving, is to check their social media.
It would appear FOMO (fear of missing out) is behind younger drivers using social media while at the wheel. A staggering 42 % of 17-25 year olds admitted to using their mobiles to see what was going on on their social media while in charge of a vehicle.
Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and instagram were all cited as reasons for using mobiles while driving or stuck in traffic, with 34% of all drivers surveyed admitting to this being their sole reason for mobile usage in a car.
Facebook was the top draw with over half (54%) of motorists checking in to see what was going on, Instagram was 2nd with (44%) and (32%) had a look at Snapchat. 25% of those surveyed admitted to picking up their phone to browse Twitter.
The over 25’s surveyed were more likely to use their phone to capture ‘moments’.
Dating apps such as Tinder are proving another draw for motorists with just under a quarter (24%) drivers between the ages of 17-40 opening the app while driving to make sure they are not missing out any new matches.
The other apps opened while driving were music apps 19% and banking apps 14%. 64% of 17-25 year olds opened music apps while driving.
Gaming apps are yet another temptation for drivers with 5% of drivers surveyed admitting to using the app Pokemon Go whilst stopped at traffic lights or in a queue of traffic.
As expected the 65-75 year olds used their phones least while driving with 6% of them admitting to using a mobile phone and this was only to answer a call.
Andrew Kirkley joint-company Director, of OSV comments: The use of handheld mobile phones while driving is unacceptable, and although new, and greater penalties are being introduced these do not seem to be acting as a deterrent. Not only is it a huge concern for the police but it would appear it is for other responsible drivers as well. It is interesting that the use of a handheld mobile in a car became a criminal offence in December 2003 and Facebook was not launched until 2004, I doubt anyone foresaw at the time that a mobile would be used for anything other than making calls or texting’.