A WORRYING number of motorists are taking photos when behind the wheel and then sharing them via social networking sites, according to new research from Confused.com.

The findings reveal that nearly one in 14 motorists admit to having taken a photograph whilst being in control of a vehicle while one in 20 motorists also claim to use the social media app – Snapchat – to send photos to friends whilst driving.

Young drivers are the worst culprits, with nearly one in 10 of 18-24 year olds claiming to use Snapchat to take photos behind the wheel.

This age group are also the most likely to be driven to distraction by accessing photo sharing sites such as Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram when in charge of a vehicle.

Gemma Stanbury, head of car insurance at Confused.com said: “Taking your eye off the road, just for a second, to read an alert or take a photo can have potentially fatal results.

“If drivers are caught using their phone illegally behind the wheel they can face penalty points and fines of up to £1,000, as well as the possibility of increased car insurance premiums.”

Research undertaken by Confused.com can reveal that in the last 30 days, 287 tweets were tagged with #drivingselfie and #drivingselfies combined.

More than a third of motorists admit to using their mobile phone when driving, with the majority using their phones to make or answer calls and send or check texts.

Other common mobile related activities which motorists admit to undertaking whilst on the road include using sat nav facilities, checking Facebook, flicking through music and reading emails.

Less than one in ten say they have actually been caught by Police using their phone behind the wheel.

According to FOI data obtained from Police Forces from across the UK, just 118,000 Fixed Penalty Notices were issued to motorists last year for using a hand-held phone behind the wheel.

Of those caught using their phone whilst driving by Police, more than half admit to continuing to use their phone behind the wheel after their brush with the law.

Gemma said: "With advances in technology and the rise in mobile phone applications available, motorists are being increasingly distracted whilst behind the wheel - especially as constantly updating and checking social media profiles has now become the norm.

“Smartphones are incredibly useful and convenient tools when used appropriately and responsibly, but behind the wheel is not an acceptable time for use.

“Our advice to motorists is to remove this temptation altogether by putting away all mobile technology before driving to ensure focus solely remains on the road ahead."