We’ve all seen it. In fact, most of us have done it, too. From the sales rep tucking into a piping hot Ginsters chicken tikka slice on the hop, to the van driver enjoying a refreshing cup of molten java from the Wild Bean Café; eating and drinking while behind the wheel is one of those everyday things that most folk don’t give a second thought to.
The vast majority of people get away with a bit of in-transit snacking – but getting caught could mean you being prosecuted for driving without due care and attention and getting up to nine points on your licence along with a fine of up to £5,000. Yes, you read that correctly - so think on the next time you chow down on that Big Tasty when you’re on the way back from the office.
In fact, Gocompare.com has done a bit of research on in-car multi-tasking – such as snacking, chatting on the phone, enjoying a crafty tab and so forth - and it turns out that about 74% of 1,200-odd people quizzed admitted to doing one or all of them at some point (probably not all at the same time, though).
Drivers aged between 25 and 34 years old are the most frequent offenders for in-car multi-tasking. Almost half admitted they had read and sent texts while driving, with 54% saying they had spoken on their phone in the car without using a hands-free kit. Nearly one in three said that they had checked emails as they drove, with a fifth saying they’d gone as far as battering off an email while driving.
If you're caught doing any of the above, it could have serious ramifications for the price that you pay for car insurance.
We fired up Dr Compario’s patented steam-powered statistical combobulator contraption and found that a CU80 conviction – that’s for using a mobile phone while driving, police terminology fans - could add around £90 to a 25-year-old driver’s annual premium. A TS10 conviction (jumping a red light, essentially) could add the same. Having both of them on your licence could cost you around £230 a year more.
Scott Kelly, head of motor at Gocompare.com, opined: “There’s a considerable difference between bad habits behind the wheel and illegal ones. While smoking or eating on the road may just be ill-advised activities, finishing off a report, sending emails or making a call whilst driving could land you in financial and legal trouble.
“We all feel like sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day, and mobile technology means that we often end up working out of hours or on the hoof. But trying to multi-task while driving is dangerous and, if you’re caught, a conviction could see you face fines, points on your licence, higher insurance premiums and even a driving ban, which could affect your employment.”