Ford – 1 in 4 young drivers have taken a ‘selfie’ while driving

Don't try this at home Image Credit: Ford/Newspress

Don’t try this at home
Image Credit: Ford/Newspress

A recent press release from Ford Ireland reveals the startling statistic that 1 in 4 young drivers have taken a ‘selfie’ while driving.

According to the research, which was undertaken by Ford and involved 7,000 smartphone users aged 18-24 from across Europe, one in four have posted an update on social media or checked social media sites while driving.

“Taking a ‘selfie’ on a smartphone 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.”

So says Jim Graham, manager, Ford Driving Skills for Life.

“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.” 

The survey also  shows that nearly half of young drivers admit to having used their smartphone to snap a photograph behind the wheel.

According to Ford, snapping a “selfie” at the wheel can distract a driver for 14 seconds, and checking social media channels can distract for 20 seconds – long enough for a car travelling at 100 km/h (62 mph) to cover the length of five football pitches.

According to research carried out in North America by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), adjusting hair using a rear-view mirror can distract for four seconds, and dialing a hand-held phone can distract for seven seconds.

Ford is currently rolling out its “Driving skills for life” in Europe. so far, the programme has been launched in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Romania, Spain, and the U.K. Part of the training involves participants taking a “selfie” while driving in controlled conditions.

According to Jim Graham;

“The students can be a little blasé at first but afterwards, when they see the cones that have been flattened as they tried to take a ‘selfie’, it brings home the message very effectively. The potential consequences of taking a ‘selfie’ behind the wheel are very sobering, and it is crucial to get that message home to young drivers as effectively as possible.”

MAG Ireland commends Ford for their efforts in raising awareness among young drivers of the potentially lethal consequences of distracted driving and in particular the use of mobile phones behind the wheel. We recently reported on the surge in fixed penalty notices issued by the Gardai in the first three months of 2014 with over 5,000 people ticketed for the offence in April alone.

We’re encouraged to see the recent increase in reporting on the dangers of distracted driving in the mainstream media, but of course the acid test is whether the heightened awareness and stiffer penalties will translate into a reduction in the number of drivers committing this dangerous offence. Time will tell.