In Great Britain alone, there were over 185,010 road traffic injuries and fatalities*(year ending June 2016), yet nearly 139,000 could have been prevented if motorists were less distracted when driving. Whilst loss of concentration through tiredness is well documented to be the greatest cause of road accidents (62%), a new survey by Exchange and Mart reveals that nearly 1 in 4 motorists readily admit to regularly driving in these circumstances – and men are more prone to driving when tired than women.
Marking the 19th Road Safety Week**, 21-25th November, Exchange and Mart is launching its ‘Distracted Driving’ website, offering motorists a vital guide to driving safely and avoiding distractions.
Jim Murray Jones, General Manager for Exchange and Mart explains: “Our survey results reveal that men and women are equally and most commonly distracted by their passengers, ensuring the air con is ‘just so’ and the music choice is to their liking. However, men are more prone to being distracted by eating and drinking than women, who are sidetracked by adjusting mirrors, seatbelts and seat positioning. Whatever the distraction, as many as 72% of drivers have admitted to multitasking whilst driving and as such are putting themselves and their passengers at considerable risk. The launch of our Distracted Driving website will support people making the Brake Pledge**; to drive slow, sober, secure, silent, sharp and sustainable.”
Whilst only 9% of motorists surveyed by Exchange and Mart said they use their mobile phone when driving, mobile phone usage by drivers remains the second most common cause of road traffic accidents. Interestingly, 33% motorists in the 18-24% age bracket admitted to frequently using their mobile phone while driving. It is illegal to drive while using a mobile phone and motorists caught by the police will receive 3 points on their driving licence and £100 fine.
The third largest cause of driving accidents is people getting distracted by things outside their vehicle (7%). External distractions include bill-board advertising, ‘people watching’ or even another vehicle involved in a road traffic accident. In total, one in four people surveyed by Exchange and Mart admit to being easily distracted by events happening outside their car, but 31% of women surveyed admitted to something easily catching their eye, compared to 21% of men; this goes up to 33% for drivers aged 65 or older.
Jim Murray Jones continues: “There are 3 forms of distracted driving, visual, manual and cognitive. Visual distractions will lead to the driver’s eyes being taken from the road, manual distractions cause the driver to take one or both hands from the wheel and cognitive is similar to visual, but will lead to the driver’s attention being drawn away.
“It’s astonishing to realise thataround 95% of all road accidents can be blamed in part to human error. However, a staggering 75% of these can be wholly blamed on human errors. Road Safety week reminds all motorists to stop and think about the things they do, which could be putting themselves and others at risk. The top ten driving distractions have one thing in common – complacency. Our new ‘Driving Distractions’ website offers tips, advice and facts about safer motoring, to help people make positive changes that benefit everyone.”
|Top Ten Driver Distractions:
By percentage of road accidents caused
|How many people surveyed admitted to being distracted regularly by these|
|Loss of concentration through tiredness||62%||24%|
|Mobile phone usage||12%||9%|
|Looking at something outside, other than the road e.g. advertisements or a road accident||7%||26%|
|Using external devices, such as Sat Nav or hands free equipment (excluding mobile phones)||2%||20%|
|Eating and Drinking||2%||35%|
|Fiddling with the car radio/in-car entertainment or heating/air con||2%||63%|
|Adjusting seatbelts, seat positioning and mirrors||1%||36%|
|Insects in the car e.g. spiders and wasps||1%||33%|
|Lighting, smoking and extinguishing a cigarette||1%||25%|
|Top Ten Driver Distractions:||Men||Women|
|Loss of concentration through tiredness||28%||20%|
|Mobile phone usage||8%||9%|
|Looking at something outside, other than the road e.g. advertisements or a road accident||21%||31%|
|Using external devices, such as Sat Nav or hands free equipment (excluding mobile phones)||23%||17%|
|Eating and Drinking||35%||36%|
|Altering the car radio/in-car entertainment or heating/air con||59%||67%|
|Adjusting seatbelts, seat positioning and mirrors||31%||41%|
|Insects in the car e.g. spiders and wasps||28%||37%|
|Lighting, smoking and extinguishing a cigarette||27%||23%|
|Which Age Group is Most Distracted?||Age Group|
|Loss of concentration through tiredness||65+ (44%)|
|Mobile phone usage||18-24 (33%)|
|Looking at something outside, other than the road e.g. advertisements or a road accident||65+ (33%)|
|Using external devices, such as Sat Nav or hands free equipment (excluding mobile phones)||25-34 (29%)|
|Eating and Drinking||18-24 (56%)|
|Altering the car radio/in-car entertainment or heating/air con||55-65 (74%)|
|Adjusting seatbelts, seat positioning and mirrors||18-24 (44%)|
|Insects in the car e.g. spiders and wasps||65+ (56%)|
|Lighting, smoking and extinguishing a cigarette||65+ (56%)|