Certain driver distractions increase the risk of crashing according to a new study from Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.
Commenting on the findings, RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “The fact this was a long-term study using video to observe drivers’ behaviour at the wheel makes it particularly significant and its findings therefore need to be heeded as they show just how prevalent distractions in accidents are.
“We know being distracted at the wheel can have tragic consequences but, based on this research, UK Government statistics around contributory factors in accidents seem to dramatically downplay the effect of distractions as they report that only 4% of road deaths in 2014 were attributable to them.
“Not surprisingly the research shows just how dangerous the use of hand-held phones when driving can be, but it also highlights the dangers of other forms of distraction such as interacting with passengers, reaching for an object and the impact of drowsiness and fatigue.
“All it takes is a moment’s loss of concentration from reaching for a mobile phone, fiddling with a sat-nav or adjusting an in-vehicle device to lose control and find yourself involved in a life-changing accident.
“The latest RAC Report on Motoring shows the dangers posed by other motorists using their hand-held mobile phones to talk, text or go online are a growing worry for many drivers with more than a third (34%) saying this is one of their top four areas of concern.
“There is still a surprising number of motorists (12%) who think that it is acceptable to take a short call with a hand-held mobile phone while driving, despite this being illegal since December 2003.”