A fifth of British drivers use Facebook at the wheel

What to do if the government bans texting while driving? Fear not. In the UK, where there’s already legislation against it, drivers have found a solution: update your Facebook page instead.

A survey carried out on behalf of car parts manufacturer Halfords has found that one in twenty drivers admitted to reading a post on Facebook or Twitter while at the wheel, while two percent said thay had posted themselves or sent an email.

Three years after a ban on phoning while driving, nearly a third said they still did so, and 28 percent said they had either sent or read a text.

Halfords technology expert Clare Pritchard said: “It seems there is still some way to go to ensure drivers use mobile phones legally and drive with due care and attention. The only way to do this is by installing a hands-free device in your car.

“While it is always better to pull into a safe place and stop the car before using the phone, hands-free means drivers can have the reassurance of a mobile phone while on the move.”

It seems more people are prepared to fess up to a car parts manufacturer than to a government official. A couple of weeks ago, a similar survey from the Department of Transport found that only 1.4 percent of drivers admitted to using a phone at the wheel.

“We know that drivers’ reaction times slow by almost half when they are having a chat on their mobiles,” said director of the RAC Foundation Professor Stephen Glaister. “This is even worse than texting whilst driving – bad enough in itself – which our research has shown reduces reactions by a third.”