More drivers using mobile phones at the wheelPA

New research from Halfords reveals that the number of motorists who admit to texting whilst driving has doubled in the space of a year - while those who confess to using social media while on the move have quadrupled.

Some 35% of drivers admitted reading text messages, rising to 57% among under 25s, whilst almost one in five (19%) have gone onto social networking sites or used the Internet a survey of 2083 drivers found.

The news comes after police forces in Scotland, Wales, Lancashire, Devon and Cornwall and Humberside crack down on mobile phone use at the wheel with new campaigns.

The annual study by Halfords marks the sixth anniversary of tougher legal sanctions being introduced to discourage the use of hand-held phones, or similar devices, when driving - which saw fixed penalty fines rise to £60 and three penalty points being added to an offenders' licences.

Halfords In-Car technology Manager, Dave Poulter said: "These findings paint a disturbing picture of what is happening on the UK's roads and the emerging trend towards using mobile phones to link with social media while driving is extremely worrying."

Just over half (53%) of motorists admit they are likely to take their eyes of the road to see who a call is from and 45% admit they would look to see who a text is from.

Yet, despite this, one in three (33%) think the police should crack down on offenders and three quarters of those questioned feel the current legislation is not properly enforced, though 24% feel it is acceptable to use phone at traffic lights or when in stationary traffic.

Do you think police should crack down on mobile phone use at the wheel? Have your say in the comments section below