Selfie drivers face two years in prison

A solicitor is warning about the dangers of a new photo-snapping craze which is driving Britons to distraction.

While there are already enough hazards lurking on the road, a study conducted by Ford has revealed that an increasing number of us are participating in smartphone-related tasks while driving.

According to the study, taking selfies is the latest in a long list of dangerous activities performed while behind the wheel, and those aged 18-24 are the worst offenders, with 33 per cent of Britons in this age range admitting to the offence.

Jamie Patton, who is a partner at Birchall Blackburn Law and heads up its personal injury department, said: “Drivers using hand-held devices are slower at recognising and reacting to hazards so are much more likely to be involved in a collision, and it’s really worrying that the drivers who are snapping pictures of themselves are those who have the least experience on the roads.”

The increasing popularity of photo sharing sites such as Instagram is driving up the number of people taking pictures while driving, with over 27,000 behind the wheel selfies appearing under #drivingselfie, while #drivingtowork has attracted around 19,000 posts on the app.

Jamie added: “We’ve definitely seen a sharp rise in the number of road accident cases relating to smartphone use in the past couple of years.

“It has been illegal to use a mobile phone while driving for any use since 2003, so while many may think the act is harmless, even if users take the picture while driving then post it on social media at a later date, they are still committing an offence.

“This reckless practice not only puts the driver’s life and those around them at risk, but sets the offender up for prosecution too. Drivers who take and post selfies while behind the wheel are effectively documenting themselves breaking the law.” While those caught using a mobile phone while driving, stopped at traffic lights or in queuing traffic will automatically get three penalty points on their driving license and a £100 fine, offenders also risk being disqualified from driving, penalised with a fine of up to £1,000 and even a jail sentence of up to two years.