A study conducted by moneysupermarket, the leading price comparison website, has revealed that just over eight out of 10 drivers in Britain get distracted while behind the wheel.
Eighty-two per cent of those motorists quizzed on the issue admitted to being preoccupied when out and about on the roads by a range of different distractions, with changing radio stations and swapping CDs the main reason for losing concentration. Eating and drinking and taking phone calls were next in the rankings, while an alarming five per cent confessed to falling asleep or dozing.
A fifth of people claimed to have sent text messages and 15 per cent failed to wear a seatbelt, raising serious safety concerns. Motorists living in Northern Ireland, meanwhile, also took part and 87 per cent conceded to have been distracted to the point of driving without due care and attention, compared to 74 per cent of residents in the North West.
All these statistics make for disturbing reading. Further analysis from moneysupermarket has highlighted that the 16,485 motorists actually convicted each year of driving without due care and attention face the prospect of paying over £200 more for car insurance in the future, as well as a £60 fine and three-point penalty on their license. That rise in insurance premiums adds up to an annual total of £3.3million, while some individuals could be left with an increase of as much as £402, which works out at 63 per cent more expensive.
Peter Harrison, a car insurance expert at moneysupermarket.com, is quick to warn of the dangers of not paying attention at all times when sat in the driver’s seat.
“The UK’s roads are becoming busier every year so taking your eyes off the road, even for a second to make a phone call or eat a quick snack, could lead to severe, or even fatal, consequences,” said Harrison.
“More worryingly, as our research shows, some motorists are not only being unnecessarily distracted but are even failing to take basic safety precautions when driving such as wearing a seatbelt.
“Although it may be unintentional, careless drivers are a menace on the roads and are a danger to both themselves and others. The penalties for this kind of behaviour are huge and can really impact on the cost of your insurance premiums. Not only are these bad driving habits, but also expensive habits if you are caught – it really isn’t worth taking the risk.”