New research has revealed that nearly half (49%) of UK drivers are still use their mobile phone behind the wheel, causing crashes, near misses and road rage.

Despite tough new laws brought in a year ago to act as a deterrent, motorists aged 25-35 are the worst offenders, confessing that they have been distracted while driving by taking phone calls (40%), using their phone for directions (38%), changing music (23%) and sending text messages (18%).

As a result of being distracted by their mobile phone, nearly one in 10 drivers aged 25-34 said they had crashed their car, 15% had experienced a near-miss, 10% had gone through a red light and 22% had been beeped at.

The youngest age group (18-24s) are no longer the most easily distracted by their mobiles. Experts believe that the new penalty system might have had an impact on new drivers who risk a ban if they get six points in their first two years.

Driver using a mobile phone - Getty Images/Spencer Platt

The survey carried out by used car supermarket, The Car People, questioned 1,500 drivers, then tested two millennials in a simulator while being distracted to show the potential dangers.

“It is difficult to do two things at once well, but when one of those things is driving it is virtually impossible,” said Ryan Robbins, Senior Human Factors Researcher at TRL, who conducted the driving simulation.

“Driving is a demanding task that can suddenly require all of a driver’s attention when a hazard arises.

“A driver who has been distracted will be slower to anticipate and react to hazards on the road, and that delay can prove fatal.

“Most of us drastically overestimate how well we can drive, even when we are concentrating fully, and the evidence is clear that when we are distracted our driving is considerably worse.”