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British Motorists Driven to Distraction

CHESTER, England, December 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Three quarters of motorists admit to being distracted behind the wheel[1]
  • One in 10 driving convictions is for using a mobile phone while driving[2]

The UK is a nation of 'distracted drivers'. Three-quarters of motorists admit to taking their eyes off the road, increasing their risk of being involved in an accident, says MoneySupermarket.com.

Research by the UK's number one comparison site found three quarters of motorists (76 per cent) have been distracted while driving, endangering themselves and those around them.[1] Over half of those surveyed (54 per cent) admitted to changing music while driving; 47 per eat, 47 per cent drink, and a further one in six (16 per cent) send texts from a mobile phone. A shocking six per cent admitted to using apps on a smartphone or tablet, updating their Facebook status or tweeting.

The research also found that motorists, as well as distracting themselves, are easily distracted by others. Over a third of people (35 per cent) admitted to being distracted by children or other passengers and one in five (20 per cent) said a good-looking person made them take their eyes off the road.

Kevin Pratt, car insurance  expert at MoneySupermarket.com said "We all lead busy lives and find ourselves trying to multi-task, even when driving. But motorists need to be vigilant as taking your eyes off the road for only a second could have disastrous consequences for yourself and other motorists and pedestrians. Using a mobile phone to text, call or tweet when behind the wheel is not only very dangerous but also illegal."

Convicted drivers rife on the roads

Further analysis of over 14 million car insurance quotes run on the site over 12 months as part of the MoneySupermarket Monitor on Car Insurance,[2] found the total number of actual driving convictions declared on insurance quotations was 2,724,948 (or 19.3 per cent). Ten per cent of those were for using a mobile phone while driving.

Of that 10 per cent there was a heavy bias in gender. Male drivers were found to be the most likely to get caught using their phone behind the wheel holding 72 per cent of the convictions versus just 28 per cent of women.

A further breakdown of the searches reveals those aged 30-39 years old had the highest conviction rate for mobile phone use at 1.63 per thousand, closely followed by 25-29 year olds with a rate of 1.57 per thousand. Those aged 17-19 and then 50 and over are more cautious and are least likely to be caught behind the wheel using their phone. Drivers in south and mid Scotland are most guilty of this offence, registering a rate of 2.1 and 2.0 per thousand respectively, while those in the South West of England are least likely to get caught, with only 0.71 per thousand registering a conviction.

Kevin Pratt concluded:  "If you are caught driving while using a mobile phone you run the risk of not only receiving a £60 fine and three penalty points on your licence, but it is also likely to increase your insurance premium by a substantial sum. Our analysis shows convicted drivers can expect their insurance premiums to increase by 20 per cent or £92 a year on average as a result.[2]

"Motorists should not only keep their eyes on the road but on their insurance premium as well. On average, motorists save themselves around £394 by shopping around for their insurance premiums through MoneySupermarket.com."[3]

Notes to editors:

[1] Research undertaken by Opinium Research based on an online of 2,012 British UK adult drivers (18+) carried out 2 - 6 July 2011. Results have been weighted to a nationally representative criteria.

Three quarters are guilty of driving distractions and an equal proportion have been distracted by something out of their control.

Driving distractions British adults admitted to doing when driving:

                                           Percentage of
            Driving Distraction              motorists
          Changed stations on the
    radio/changed CD/ changed music on
                  my IPOD                       54%
                Had a drink                     47%
               Eaten a snack                    47%
      Made calls on a non hands-free
               mobile phone                     16%
      Sent text messages on a mobile
                   phone                        16%
      Slowed down to watch accidents            21%
               Been romantic                     8%
    aftershave/perfume/lipstick/make-up          7%
             Fall asleep/ doze                   4%
     Used apps on my smartphone/tablet
                 computer                        3%
    Updated my profile/been on facebook
      via my mobile phone/smart phone            3%
     Tweeted via my mobile phone/smart
                   phone                         1%
                   Other                         1%
               None of these                    22%

Top distractions that have happened to  motorists when driving

                                    Percentage of
        Driving Distraction           motorists
     Been distracted by what is
      happening on the street            38%
    Been distracted by others in
       the car e.g. children,
              friends                    35%
         Taken a phone call              28%
     Been distracted by animals          25%
      Been distracted by good
           looking people                20%
     Been distracted by SatNav           18%
    Been distracted by nice cars         13%
         Been distracted by
            advertising                  12%
               Other                      1%
           None of these                 28%

Two per cent of those surveyed said they have been convicted or fined for doing one of the above whilst driving.

[2] MoneySupermarket Monitor on car insurance:


14,202,078 million quotes run on the MoneySupermarket car insurance site between 1st October 2011 - 30th September 2012.

Full driving distractions data can be found here:


[3] Average saving of £394 with MoneySupermarket.com when shopping for car insurance. Based on online independent research by Consumer Intelligence during Nov 1st - Nov 30th 2012.

* Code CU80 is for the; 'Breach of requirements as to control of the vehicle, mobile telephone etc', may receive three penalty points: https://www.gov.uk/penalty-points-endorsements/endorsement-codes-and-penalty-points

MoneySupermarket.com compares (at 29th Nov 2012)

  • 130 car insurance brands and 99 home insurance brands
  • 9 broadband providers and 20 energy providers   
  • 30 unsecured loan and 5 secured loan providers
  • 62 mortgage lenders and 27 credit card providers
  • 63 savings providers and 38 current account providers.
  • Over 920,000 mobile phone deals

Our customers

We help our customers to save money on all of their household bills by providing a free, easy to use online service so they can compare a wide range of products in one place and find the product most suited to their needs. Our size means we are able to offer our customers exclusive, market-leading deals, including some they can't even get direct from providers.

Our providers

By having considerable volumes of informed customers actively looking for products and ready to purchase, we offer our providers an efficient and cost effective customer acquisition solution across all of our channels. This enables our providers to target their marketing spend in an effective and completely measurable way.

Our revenue comes predominantly from fees paid to us by product providers when a customer clicks through to their website and actually applies for or purchases a product. It is a success based marketing fee.

Our customer commitment

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For further information, please contact: 

Nicki Parry
PR Officer
[email protected]

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