More than half of drivers in the 25 – 34 age-group are risking getting charged with motoring offences for texting, using apps or going online on their mobiles when they are behind the wheel, according to a new study by road safety charity Brake.

The study revealed that 55% of 25-34-year-old drivers questioned admitted they had sent or read a text message on their mobile while behind the wheel of their car, in the last year.

Just under half of drivers (49%) aged 25-34 admitted they sometimes go online or use apps (other than sat nav apps) while driving. Almost a third of drivers in that age group said they do that several times a week at least.

Reading and writing messages – whether texting, emailing or using apps or social networks – while driving is even more distracting than talking on a phone, says Brake, as it takes your mind, hands and eyes off the road. Texting drivers’ reaction times are 35% slower and they also have poor lane control. One large-scale study found texting drivers were 23 times more likely to crash than a driver paying full attention.

Reaching for a mobile phone can be an irresistible temptation for some, despite knowledge of the risks. In the UK, experts have warned of increasing levels of smartphone addiction by users who are unable to go without checking their phone for short periods or through the night.

“Younger drivers, especially those aged between 25 and 34, simply aren’t getting the message about the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving,” commented Alice Bailey, campaigns and communications adviser for Brake. “Doing any other complex task while driving hugely increases your chance of crashing.”

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