The shocking discovery is just one of the statistics that show the extent to which drivers use their phones and tablets to take selfies, make video calls and watch videos while driving.

The findings come from research commissioned this month exclusively by the Institute of Advance Motorists, which asked 500 drivers how they use their smartphones and tablets in the car.

19% of 25-35 year olds admitted taking selfies whilst driving

Despite this, it seems that many drivers are clearly getting away with these activities as the number of drivers given penalty points for using a smartphone at the wheel fell by more than 40 per cent in 2014.

Nine per cent of drivers admitted to taking a selfie. This increases to 15% of young drivers aged 18-24 and 19% of 25-35 year olds. Women are less selfie obsessed than men, with just 5% of women citing they have taken a selfie while driving compared to 12% of men.

Eight per cent of drivers admitted to driving while using a video-calling application such as FaceTime and Skype to make and receive video calls, rising to 16% among 18 to 24 year olds.

Read more

The results also showed that 18% of drivers have accessed the internet using their smartphone or tablet, rising to 27% of drivers aged 18-24 and 34% of drivers aged 25-34 while driving ‘in the last month’

16% of 18-24 year olds making or receiving video calls whilst driving

An IAM study in 2012 showed that using a smartphone while driving is more dangerous than driving at the legal alcohol limit or when using cannabis. Drivers have much slower reaction times, difficulty staying in the same lane and are less able to adapt to even slowly changing circumstances.

IAM’s chief executive officer, Sarah Sillars said: “Everyone knows how dangerous using a smartphone or tablet is while driving. That’s why it’s shocking to see new trends like taking selfies and making video calls becoming common practice.

34% of 25-34 year olds accessed the internet via smartphone or tablet whilst driving

“Safe driving is everyone’s responsibility and more must be done to catch drivers using these devices dangerously by increasing the fines and points for smartphone and tablet use at the wheel – there is simply no excuse.

“Campaigns must also be introduced that raise awareness of the prevalence of the issue in society and make this behaviour socially unacceptable as drink-driving.