Ford, through its Driving Skills for Life program, surveyed 7,000 smartphone owners from across Europe, all aged between 18 and 24, and found that young British drivers were more likely to snap a selfie while behind the wheel than their counterparts in Germany, France, Romania, Italy, Spain and Belgium.
According to the study, the average selfie takes 14 seconds, which, while traveling at 60 miles per hour, is long enough to travel over the length of nearly four football fields (the Ford study uses soccer fields, but we translated it to football, because, you know, America). That's an extremely dangerous distance to not be focused on the road.
"Taking a 'selfie' 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," Jim Graham, of Ford's Driving Skills for Life program said in a statement. "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."
If you're a driver in the UK – or anywhere for that matter – when you're behind the wheel, just put the phone down.
Scroll down for the press release from Ford, as well as a pair of short videos meant to highlight the danger of selfies while driving.
Ford highlights the risks of using smartphones at the wheel as part of its national free driver training programme, Driving Skills for Life
A new Ford-sponsored survey showed that British drivers are the most likely to snap a so-called 'selfie' at the wheel (33 per cent), ahead of all other Europeans
The survey of 7,000 smartphone users aged 18-24 from across Europe also revealed that one in four have posted an update on social media or checked social media sites while driving
BRENTWOOD, Essex, 07 August, 2014 – Ford research for its acclaimed Driving Skills for Life programme has revealed that young Brit drivers are the most likely to take a 'selfie' while at the wheel.
According to the survey, British drivers were the most likely to photograph themselves (a 'selfie') while on the move (33 per cent), ahead of counterparts in Germany (28 per cent), France (28 per cent), Romania (27 per cent), Italy (26 per cent), Spain (18 per cent), and Belgium (17 per cent).
The survey of 7,000 smartphone users aged 18-24 from across Europe also showed one in four people had used social media sites behind the wheel; and that young male drivers were the most likely to ignore the risks. Nearly all drivers surveyed agreed the activities were dangerous.
Ford has found that snapping a 'selfie' at the wheel could distract a driver for 14sec, and checking social media distracts for as much as 20sec – long enough, at 60mph, to travel the length of five football pitches.
Car crashes are the leading cause of death for young drivers and Ford last year introduced to Europe the award-winning Ford Driving Skills for Life programme to provide hands-on training to more than 5,000 18-24-year-olds and online training for thousands more.
The company is now expanding its free Ford Driving Skills for Life programme across the UK (https://forddsfl.co.uk) to include Glasgow, home to the 2014 Commonwealth Games, on September 18-20, followed by Gaydon, Warwickshire, October 4-5 and Chobham, Surrey, October 7-9. The updated training programme will highlight the dangers of taking a "selfie" and other smartphone and social media activities behind the wheel.
"Taking a 'selfie' 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," said Jim Graham, Ford Driving Skills for Life manager. "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."
Ford Driving Skills for Life was launched in the US 10 years ago and has provided hands-on training to more than 100,000 young drivers around the world. So far in Europe, the programme has been rolled out in the UK, Germany, France, Romania, Italy, Spain and Belgium.
As part of the training, attendees will in the future undertake slow speed manoeuvres while taking a 'selfie' on a closed facility with a professional instructor beside them at the wheel. Expert guidance also is provided in the importance of early hazard recognition, and good speed and space management.