More than two in five drivers are illegally using hands-held mobiles while at the wheel, with some even taking pictures of crashes, according to an AA/Populus survey.
Of the 42% who used mobiles while driving, 60% said it had distracted them.
As many as 74% of the 21,000 drivers polled said they had seen others using mobile phones on some or most journeys, with 25% seeing mobile use on all trips.
Around 20% admitted using a mobile to send a text, 4% checked emails and 2% even sent emails while at the controls.
Two per cent read Twitter or Facebook updates while at the wheel and 1% even tweeted while driving.
The AA said police in Northamptonshire recorded 80 drivers using phones or cameras to photograph emergency services attempting a four-and-a-half-hour rescue of a 21-year-old driver trapped in her crashed truck on the M1 last month.
AA president Edmund King said: "Drivers need to concentrate on driving rather than be distracted by their digital technology. Our research shows that some drivers are now using their smart phones for more than talking on the move. It is really not smart to talk, text or tweet on the move.
"Digital rubber-neckers who photograph crashes really are morbid voyeurs who should be concentrating on the road, not the victims of crashes. It beggars belief that these macabre motorists should put their lives and others at risk through their lust for twisted metal.
"We would like to see the police target more mobile phone abusers so that the message gets out that it is not worth hanging on the telephone while driving.
"However, we have seen a 29% reduction in traffic police in the last decade so their resources are stretched."