Rise in under-25s video calling when driving, says RAC

  • Published
A woman looking at her phone while drivingImage source, Getty Images

"It's normal isn't it?" James says.

The 24-year-old admits to Radio 1 Newsbeat that he's happy to use his phone whilst driving, adding that "everyone does it".

The RAC motor organisation claims they've got figures suggesting one in five under-25s are using FaceTime, Snapchat or WhatsApp at the wheel.

It says there's a rise in drivers making and taking calls illegally - the highest level since 2016.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The RAC says there's a rise in drivers making and taking calls illegally

The RAC spoke to more than 3,000 people for their latest report on driving attitudes.

The organisation says younger drivers are more than twice as likely to say they make or receive video calls while driving.

Almost one in 10 drivers aged 17-24 say they play games on their phones while driving.

James says he takes a video call if someone is calling when he's at the wheel and doesn't think it impairs his driving.

But when challenged, he admits he'd feel guilty if he was on a call and had an accident.

What is the law?

In 2003, the law banning the use of mobile phones while driving was introduced.

It came in at a time before smart phones - when calling, texting and maybe the odd game of snake was the norm.

Now that law is being reviewed.

"The general rule is that you cannot hold your mobile in your hand and use it whilst driving, so hands-free tends to be ok, but texting is not," says Ronnie Simpson, who's a lawyer specialising in road, traffic and dangerous driving.

"If you're not looking at the camera and not engaging - and you're engaging with the road - I suppose there's no difference in making a telephone call."

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The government says it's looking at changing the law when it comes to driving and using your phone

But if you're holding a camera in front of your face and driving?

That's a no, according to Ronnie.

"It's simply dangerous driving and should be punished.

"The key issue is safety. If you're looking at your phone, you're not looking at the road."

Back in 2016, the RAC made it their aim to make illegal mobile phone use while driving as socially unacceptable as drink-driving.

"The bar to convict somebody under the current offence of using a handheld mobile phone while driving is high, making it difficult for the police to enforce," says Simon Williams from the RAC.

"Any mobile phone activity that doesn't involve telecommunications, such as checking text messages, recording a video or changing pre-downloaded music, is bizarrely not covered by the set mobile phone laws, although drivers could be convicted for not being in proper control of their vehicles."

The government says it's looking at closing that legal loophole.

Follow Newsbeat on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 weekdays - or listen back here.