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1.2 million motorists* have had an accident or near miss thanks to dashboard distractions

27 July 2015
  • 4% of drivers have had an accident or near miss as a result of being distracted by or while adjusting a driver aid or in-car media feature (10% for drivers aged 18 to 24);
  • Only 44% of motorists think driver aids make for easier driving;

According to new research, 1.2 million drivers have been involved in a road traffic accident or had a near miss because they were distracted by, or were adjusting, in-car technology.

The survey, commissioned by Gocompare.com Car Insurance, found that young drivers aged 18 to 24 were the most likely to be distracted by dashboard gadgets.  13% admitted to often feeling distracted by a driver aid or media feature while one in ten said that they had had an accident of near miss as a direct result of being distracted by in-car technology.

The survey of over 1,570 drivers also revealed that:

  • Only 44% of those surveyed thought that driver aids make driving easier;
  • 7% of motorists said that they have turned off one or more of their car’s driver aids;
  • 7% of drivers say they often feel distracted by driver aids or in-car media features (13% for young motorists aged 18 to 24 year olds);
  • Only 61% of drivers know how to use all of their car’s controls and features.

According to the survey, the most common driver aids and media features are:

Rank

Media feature/ driver aid

% of drivers

1

CD Player

81

2

Seat belt warning light

69

3

Electronic key/remote central locking

64

4

ABS

57

5

USB/Auxiliary port

35

6

Cruise control

33

7

Bluetooth connectivity

33

8

Parking sensors

32

9

DAB radio

30

10

Light and rain sensors which automatically turn on headlights windscreen wipers.

26

11

Integrated hands free mobile capability

22

12

Gearshift indicator (advises when to change gear for fuel efficiency)

20

13

Integrated sat-nav

18

14

Stop/start function

16

15

Automatic parking

6

Commenting on the research findings, Matt Oliver, Gocompare.com’s car insurance spokesperson said, “Increasingly all manner of new technology is being fitted into cars.  Hi-tech features such as sat-navs, voice-activated music systems and hands-free mobile phones are designed to help drivers and improve the driving experience.  But, as our research demonstrates, they can be a dangerous distraction as they divert drivers’ attention from the road.

“Even using hands-free or voice activated technology can affect your concentration because they require you to think about something other than the road ahead – such as confirming a road name or postcode to a sat-nav or memorising a phone number or diary date from a phone call.

“Generally speaking, the law requires drivers to be attentive and not engage in distracting activities. Depending on how badly the distraction is affecting their driving, drivers could be charged with a range of offences including driving without due care and attention, failure to be in proper control of their vehicle, careless and inconsiderate driving, or dangerous driving.”

Matt Oliver added, “If you know a dashboard gadget is a distraction, turn it off or don’t use it.  In particular, if you feel you might be tempted to check your phone messages or social media updates while you’re behind the wheel – turn your phone off.  Driving safely is much more important than staying in touch.  Also, take time ahead of your journey to plan your route and set your sat-nav - don’t input directions while you are driving.” 

-ends-

Notes to editors:

*According to the Department of Transport’s Vehicle Licensing Statistics: Quarter 1 2015 there are 29.6m licensed cars on the roads.  From our survey, 4% of drivers have had an accident or near miss as a result of being distracted by in-car technology.  4% of 29.6m car is 1,184,000 (rounded up to 1.2m).

**On 15 June 2015, Bilendi conducted an online survey among 1,574 randomly selected British adults who are Maximiles UK panelists and are motorists.  The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.