48% of young motorists text and drive

* Poll reveals shocking statistic * Texting worse than drink or drugs * Motorists who kill while texting face jail...

48% of young motorists text and drive

Young motorists are risking their lives and putting others in danger by texting on mobile phones as they drive.

In an online Facebook poll by the RAC Foundation, a shocking 48% of young motorists between the ages of 17 and 24 admitted that they text on mobiles as they drive.

Simulator studies commissioned by the RAC Foundation at the Transport Research Laboratory show that the young motorists' driving ability was affected more by texting than by smoking cannabis or drinking to the legal alcohol limit.

As well as picking up on hazards later, and reacting slower, the 17 test subjects were particularly bad at staying in the correct lane.

Young motorists are already far more likely to be involved in an accident because of their age and inexperience. Laws banning the use handheld mobile phones at the wheel of the car have been in place for some time in a bid to discourage their use.

More recently, a new charge of causing death by careless driving has been introduced, to address high-profile cases where motorists who killed other road users escaped jail because the charge of causing death by dangerous driving could not be proved.

The new charge is easier to prove, and it's hoped it will encourage drivers to take more care at the wheel as the prospect of a jail sentence is far more likely if they kill.