Beware: Twits on the road

* People updating Twitter at the wheel * Increase in illegal use of phones * Mobile internet sites blamed...

Beware: Twits on the road

The rocketing popularity of Twitter and other mobile-enabled technology has brought new danger to the UK's roads, according to research.

The study revealed that more motorists than ever are breaking the law by using their mobile phones while driving.

Research by the car insurance firm, esure, found that nearly 10% of drivers questioned admitted to using mobile internet sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, when at the wheel.

One entry on Twitter even stated, "I'm driving with my knees and peeling an orange probably not the safest thing to be doing".

A selection of actual driving 'Tweets' (entries made to Twitter profiles)
'Driving school bus'
'Irresponsible twitter driving woo!'
'Driving up to Newcastle while we Tweet!'
'Driving home in the rainalmost crashed!'
'Trying my best to stay awake while driving'
'Awake, hungover, and driving'
'Is it wise to use Twitter while driving? Probably not'
'Intoxicated driving. Let's hope this works out'
'Twittering and driving'

While the research shows that 92% of UK motorists know it's illegal to use their hand-held phone while driving, 45% of motorists openly admit to breaking the law by texting and making calls behind the wheel.

Regional differences
Motorists in the north east find mobile technology the most distracting, with 56% saying that incoming beeps, vibrations, flashing lights, calls or alerts are distracting while driving.

Over 30% of drivers in the east of England admit to breaking the law by answering calls while driving. However, just 22% of Scottish motorists confessed to answering phone calls at the wheel.

Gender divide
Female motorists find mobile technology more distracting than men when driving, with 50% admitting that they find incoming alerts and vibrations distracting when driving, compared with 46% of male drivers.

However, more male motorists admit to having broken the law by answering calls while driving - with 29% confessing to doing so. Just a quarter of female drivers admit to the same crime.