| 12.2°C Dublin

One-in-five of drivers admit to texting and phoning at the wheel


Distraction could be a factor in 20pc to 30pc of fatal crashes

Distraction could be a factor in 20pc to 30pc of fatal crashes

Distraction could be a factor in 20pc to 30pc of fatal crashes

Texting and phoning at the wheel are rampant, a major new survey of our driving habits reveals today.

At least one-in-five drivers (21pc) admit to it, despite running the risk of a court appearance, penalty points and a heavy fine if caught.

It is just one of several highly dangerous habits on a risk-taking blacklist that seems to permeate our driving.

If you can think of the things you shouldn't do at the wheel while on the move, the chances are most will crop up in some shape or form in the Car Loan Warehouse survey of driving habits published today.

It was conducted in conjunction with a major study of driver behaviour in the UK earlier this month.

The findings make grim reading for safety campaigners in Ireland who are trying to reduce the number of accidents and deaths.

In the survey, 1,000 thousand drivers were asked a simple question: What dangerous driving habits are you guilty of or admit to?

It discovered that:

* More than a quarter (26.4pc) regularly break speed limits. Speeding is regarded as one of the biggest reasons for accidents and deaths.

* 36.6pc revealed that they eat and drink (non-alcoholic) while driving - making this the largest single response in the survey. And more women than men are guilty of munching on the move.

* 21pc admitted they use their mobile phone while behind the wheel, thereby taking their eyes off the road for dangerously long periods.

New data suggests that young drivers are most likely to use their phones while driving. But this survey suggests drivers of all ages are doing it.

* More than one-in-four (29pc) motorists said they often drive when tired. Research suggests fatigue is a major factor in a high proportion of accidents and road deaths.

* Despite years of highlighting the safety of seat belts, one-in-10 (10.5pc) said they have broken the law by not wearing one.

* While it might sound humourous, 6.8pc admitted to being distracted at the wheel while attending to personal grooming matters such as putting on makeup or combing their hair. Women accounted for the majority of offenders.

A number of survey respondents admitted their big fault was being complacent on the road.

In summarising the findings, the authors of the Car Loan Warehouse study echo that: "With so many Irish motorists admitting to a variety of reckless road habits, it appears that complacency is the concentration killer endangering the lives of drivers and pedestrians."

The level of texting at the wheel is bound to raise fresh questions about the effectiveness of enforcing tougher new regulations.

Offenders have to attend court and face a financial penalty as there is no option to take the lesser option of just penalty points.

But for at least one-in-five drivers here, that doesn't seem to be enough of a deterrent.

Indo Motoring