That’s Not Very Smart is it? Many Students use Mobile Phones to Talk, Text and Swipe at the Wheel, Ford Survey Shows




  • Students at university are bottom of the class when it comes to road safety with many admitting to using mobile phones, drink driving and speeding


  • Nearly half send texts and more than a third swipe through apps and take calls, according to a survey commissioned by Ford. Most speed and more than one in eight drink drive


  • More than 20,000 drivers across Europe will by the end of 2016 have received training through Ford Driving Skills For Life programmes specifically tailored for young people, who are particularly at risk of being killed on the roads


BRENTWOOD, Sept. 2016 – Many university students drive while using their mobile phones, most break the speed limit, and a significant number also drink drive, according to a survey commissioned by Ford. *


Research shows that worldwide, car crashes are the leading cause of death among young people, and in Europe, young people are almost twice as likely to be killed on roads compared with the average person. **


Of those surveyed, 43 per cent admitted sending texts, 38 per cent swipe through apps, and 36 per cent take calls. Also, 60 per cent speed and 13 per cent drink drive. By comparison, of those who left school at 18, 45 per cent admitted speeding, 9 per cent drink driving, and 41 per cent using their mobile phones while driving.


The findings of the survey of 2,313 young people, who either study at university or left school at 18, were published as students across Europe prepare for Freshers’ Week, when new undergraduates traditionally begin a heady round of partying to mark the start of their university life. Through its Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) programme, Ford offers free training for young drivers. By the end of 2016, this programme will have trained more than 20,000 drivers across 13 countries in Europe.


“Getting to university is an incredible achievement and it is also where many of us make some of our strongest friendships. But we want to make sure these are lifelong friendships and help to ensure that these young people can one day look back with pride on a successful graduation,” said Jim Graham, manager, Ford DSFL. “It is crucial students, and all young people, understand the terrible consequences, both for themselves and for others, that taking risks behind the wheel can lead to.”


University can be a demanding time socially as well as academically and the survey revealed that many students were also tempted to take further risks when driving. Of those surveyed:

  • 48 per cent said they would be tempted to drive a car overloaded with friends
  • 75 per cent would be tempted to drive after little or no sleep
  • 28 per cent would be tempted to get into a car driven by someone they knew had been drinking


Overall, 30 per cent of university students admitted they had been in an accident, compared with 25 per cent of those who left school at 18.



Ford UK’s Driving Skills for Life is taking place at the Excel Exhibition centre in London on the 18th, 19th and 20th of November 2016, with a morning and afternoon session on each day. Registration is now open at .


First launched in the U.S. 13 years ago, Ford DSFL now offers hands-on training in the UK, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, and Turkey.  Classes cover hazard recognition, vehicle handling, and speed and space management; as well as the risks posed by drinking and driving, driving after taking drugs, and taking selfies – after a previous survey, commissioned by Ford in 2014, showed that then 1 in 4 young drivers had taken a “selfie” at the wheel.