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More drivers distracted by texting

Nearly 30% of drivers send text messages while at the wheel, according to a new survey.

A total of 8% text-and-drive at least once a week, the poll by road safety charity Brake and insurance company Direct Line found.

The findings, based on responses from 841 drivers, follow a recent Ofcom report which warned of increased levels of smartphone addiction in the UK by users who are unable to go long without checking their phone.

The volume of mobile data transferred over the UK's mobile networks increased 40-fold between 2007 and 2010.

Brake and Direct Line said other research had shown that texting at the wheel can make drivers 23 times more likely to cause a crash and that using a phone to email or surf the web also causes serious distractions.

Studies in the US have shown that incidents of death by distracted driving had increased, with researchers putting it down to increases in drivers using smartphone technology.

Brake campaigns director Julie Townsend said: "People who text, use the web or social networking when driving are taking enormous risks with their own and other people's lives. This kind of irresponsible behaviour is illegal and it kills, so there should be no excuses.

"We are concerned that the increasing uptake of this technology could lead to more crashes and casualties caused by distracted drivers, as is happening in the US.

"It is vital that the Government acts now to prevent an upsurge in distracted driving and it's vital that drivers listen to these warnings and make a pledge to never use their phone when driving."


From Belfast Telegraph