WHAT MIGHT otherwise be considered harmless fun in a bar or at a concert has taken a sinister twist with new research suggesting that one in three young, UK drivers has taken a “selfie” while driving.
The craze for selfies, where people take a self-portrait on their phone and post it online, gained extra prominence when David Cameron, Barack Obama and Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the Danish prime minister, took a selfie at Nelson Mandela’s funeral service in November 2013.
Now everyone’s doing it, not least young drivers with, according to a survey by Ford, British ones being the worst offenders.
The research also revealed that 33% of young Brits admitted to posting selfies online while on the road, compared with 28% in France and Germany. A quarter of 18-24-year-olds across Europe have used social media while driving.
Highlighting the risks such activities pose, the researchers calculated that taking a selfie could distract a driver for 14 seconds, and checking social media sites as much as 20 seconds ‒ long enough, at 60mph, to travel the length of five football pitches.
To educate more young drivers about the dangers of taking a selfie, Ford is expanding its Driving Skills for Life programme across the UK. As part of their training, drivers will perform slow-speed manoeuvres while taking a selfie at a closed circuit with an instructor beside them.
Jim Graham, Ford Driving Skills for Life manager, said: “Taking a selfie has for many young people quickly become an integral part of everyday life, but it’s the last thing you should be doing behind the wheel of a car.”
Esure, the insurer, recently found that many drivers have a shocking lack of knowledge when it comes to the Highway Code; as revealed on Driving.co.uk yesterday, 26% of those questioned in its survey incorrectly asserted that the rule book does not advise drivers to switch off their mobile phone while driving, in case you need it in an emergency. A further forty-five per cent of respondents did not know the answer.