Almost one driver in three admits to writing and sending text messages while behind the wheel, according to road safety charity Brake.
Research revealed that:
• 28% of drivers send text messages while driving
• 9% browse the web, use email, and interact with mobile apps or social networking sites
Sending a text message makes drivers 23 times more likely to crash or cause an accident, says the charity. It has called on the Government to hand down tougher sentences to guilty drivers.
Currently, convicted motorists face a fixed penalty notice of 60 and three penalty points on their licence.
In May 2011, the Government revealed plans to increase the fine to between 80 and 100. In some cases, drivers will face disqualification and a fine of up to 1000.
Drivers found guilty of using a mobile phone and causing a fatal accident could face up to 14 years in prison.
Calls to ban hands-free calls
Brake also wants the use of hands-free communication made illegal for drivers. The charity says motorists caught using a mobile phone should be banned for 12 months.