TMR Team | Mar 26, 2012

New figures from insurer NRMA reveal that the use of mobile phones behind the wheel is growing, with over 40 percent of motorists admitting to the risky offence.

Surveying 415 people, the study found that of the 40 percent of respondents that admitted to frequent mobile phone use while driving, 88 percent make phone calls, and 68 percent use SMS and email services.

Around 40 percent admitted to using other apps while driving, 38 percent are guilty of taking photos while driving, and 25 percent admitted to "tweeting" or updating their Facebook status while driving.

"The research shows that our appetite for technology extends to while we are driving, with one in four admitting that they are updating their status or tweeting while at the wheel. This is up from one in ten last year," NRMA spokesperson Adele Buhagiar said.

A similar study by insurer AAMI earlier this month found that satellite navigation sytems and music selection are the biggest distractions for motorists, affecting 35 percent of 3740 respondents.

Talking on mobile phones while driving remains an issue for many, with 23 percent of respondents guilty of the offence.

A further 22 percent admitted to reading or sending text messages while driving, and nine percent use their phones to browse websites while driving.

The research follows news that the New South Wales StaySafe committee is calling on members of the public to offer their thoughts on how the government should deal with driver distraction.

The new Driver and Road User Distraction inquiry will report on the part that distraction plays in road incidents, with a view to identifying its impact and to propose solutions.

Members of the public are invited to make a submission to the committee by visiting parliament.nsw.gov.au