The number of drivers who receive use their mobile phone to text or check social networking sites while behind the wheel increased over the last year, research has revealed.
According to a survey by Halfords, there was a 25% increase in the number of motorists who admitted to checking texts while driving.
The number of motorists who log on to sites like Facebook and Twitter while on the road doubled as well, the survey found.
The survey points towards the growing trend among drivers to use a hand-held phone while driving, fuelled by the increasing popularity of smart phones and touchscreen technology.
Around two in five (41%) people confessed to receiving and making calls while driving.
Using hand-held drives while driving not only puts the lives of drivers and others on the road at risk, it could also lead to higher car insurance premiums as a result of frequent crashes.
Tougher laws on the use of hand-held phones - under which drivers could be charged a £60 fine and handed three penalty points on their licence if caught - were introduced four years ago, but they are being largely ignored, the survey suggested.
Halfords In-Car Technology Expert Nik Dix said: "Smart phones are making it possible for more information to be received and shared on the go and some drivers are misusing this facility, putting themselves and other road users in danger.
"The only way to use a mobile phone legally and drive with due care and attention is to install a hands-free devise in your car."
© Press Association 2011