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One in three young drivers have taken a 'selfie' while behind the wheel

Young British drivers are the most likely to take a ‘selfie' while behind the wheel, research suggests.

British drivers were the most likely to photograph themselves while on the move (33%), ahead of counterparts in Germany (28%), France (28%), Romania (27%), Italy (26%), Spain (18%) and Belgium (17%).

The Ford-sponsored survey of 7,000 smartphone users aged 18-24 from across Europe also showed one in four people had used social media sites behind the wheel and that young male drivers were the most likely to ignore the risks.

Yet, nearly all drivers surveyed agreed the activities were dangerous.

Ford has found that snapping a ‘selfie' at the wheel could distract a driver for 14 seconds and checking social media distracts for as much as 20 seconds - long enough, at 60mph, to travel the length of five football pitches.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for young drivers and Ford last year introduced to Europe the Ford Driving Skills for Life programme to provide hands-on training to more than 5,000 18-24-year-olds and online training for thousands more.

The company is now expanding its free Ford Driving Skills for Life programme across the UK to include Glasgow on September 18-20, followed by Gaydon, Warwickshire, October 4-5, and Chobham, Surrey, October 7-9.

The updated training programme will highlight the dangers of taking a ‘selfie’ and other smartphone and social media activities behind the wheel.

"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," said Jim Graham, Ford Driving Skills for Life manager. 

"It is deeply worrying that so many young drivers admit to taking a photo while driving and we will be doing all we can to highlight the potential dangers through driver education."
Ford Driving Skills for Life was launched in the US 10 years ago and has provided hands-on training to more than 100,000 young drivers around the world.

So far in Europe, the programme has been rolled out in the UK, Germany, France, Romania, Italy, Spain and Belgium.

As part of the training, attendees will in the future undertake slow speed manoeuvres while taking a ‘selfie' on a closed facility with a professional instructor beside them at the wheel.

Expert guidance also is provided in the importance of early hazard recognition, and good speed and space management.

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  • Rich - 08/08/2014 13:49

    Still as long as you aren't using the phone to make calls this will be alright then. Ask the Police him many people they catch, oh wait a minute, they are no Police on the road anymore to catch users

  • Jim - 08/08/2014 14:30

    I see this all the time when in my car, people looking down at their phone as opposed to looking at the possible dangers around them. As a cyclist I'm now worried about riding on the road as so many people now are doing this, the majority are young drivers.

  • ad - 08/08/2014 16:02

    These kids, doesn't surprise me nowadays, I took my test to drive and drive only, for me this is a luxury and I am so grateful for it but some people just take the mick thinking its alright. I think, if your caught doing anything but driving you should be banned, simple, there is no excuss for taking a photo or texting a mate. Britain is way to lenient and this is the youngers are doing, taking advantage of this situation. Give it 10 years and the police wont even be able to have a word with you, I think the police are way too soft. Ask a kid what a crime is today and they will probably say, there is no such thing, as long as you're not caught.

  • Philip Hastings - 08/08/2014 22:42

    At least the girl in the photo is in no danger: she is in the passenger seat! As she is not wearing a seatbelt, one can assume the vehicle isn't moving either!

    • Gareth Roberts - 09/08/2014 22:30

      @Philip Hastings - It's a left-hand drive car and if she is prepared to take a photo while driving, could it be possible she may think nothing of not wearing a seat belt either? Perhaps... but you're right, the girl in the photo isn't in danger as it's posed by a model for illustrative purposes. On a more serious point however, the statistics highlight the need for drivers to be educated about the risks involved, while the police need to start targeting people who use a hand-held device while driving - there's enough of them about - I see them on a daily basis!!

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