'Driving selfies' as dangerous as drink-driving, charity warns

The Institute of Advanced Motorists found nine per cent of 500 drivers had taken a 'selfie' while driving

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Taking a selfie while driving is as dangerous as drinking and driving, a road safety charity has warned.

Of the 500 drivers surveyed by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), nearly one in 10 said they had taken a selfie while driving in the last month.

15 per cent for those aged between 18 and 24 and 19 per cent for those aged between 25 and 34 admitted taking a snap behind the wheel..

Peter Rodger, the IAM's head of driving standards, said a vehicle could travel 170ft at 60mph if the driver took their eyes off the road for as little as two seconds to take a selfie.

“We tend to underestimate how much involvement we need to have when driving in order to do it safely and reasonably," he told the Independent online.

"If you're busy taking a selfie, you're looking at where the camera is, you're looking at what the image might be. That means you're not looking where you're going. It really is that simple. And... not looking where you're going puts you into the kind of level of performance that would get you arrested for drinking and driving."

Rodger added: "If you're not looking where you're going, you're not going to see what you're going to crash into. If you're drinking and driving, you might actually see if before you crash into it. Where's the difference? You crash."

The IAM's new research showed men were more likely to take a selfie, with 12 per cent having admitted to doing so in the last month compared with only five per cent of women.

In the last month, eight per cent of drivers said they had used FaceTime or Skype while driving.

The survey also found seven per cent they had recorded video footage of themselves and 18 per cent had accessed the internet on their phone or tablet.

Sarah Sillars, the IAM’s chief executive officer, said in a statement: “Everyone knows how dangerous using a smartphone or tablet is while driving.  That’s why it’s shocking to see new trends like taking selfies and making video calls becoming common practice."