More than one in three people in Ireland regularly witness motorists applying make-up or shaving while on the move, according to figures issued today by AA Motor Insurance. Seven thousand five hundred people took part in the AA poll and were asked to say how often they observed other drivers behaving badly.
Personal grooming was by no means the most common misdemeanor, either. Drivers have also been seen regularly holding a hand-held mobile device (83%) and using a roundabout without signalling correctly (84%).
A further 56% of those polled by the AA said they regularly witness motorists texting while driving, while 67% see fellow drivers texting as they are stationary at red lights.
Other regular driver malpractices include accessing a Sat-nav or similar device in a cradle while on the move – soon to be an offence under new road traffic rules.
“It is worrying to think that people are still taking risks despite the fact that everyone with an ounce of sense knows the dangers. There are stricter provisions on mobile devices that will soon become law and there are really no excuses,” says Conor Faughnan, Director of Consumer Affairs at AA Ireland. “Certainly not for personal grooming; that’s ridiculous behaviour.”
Applying make-up and shaving is not specifically mentioned in current legislation but it is always possible to be prosecuted for “driving without reasonable consideration” so drivers can get penalty points for it.
As well as polling its customers, The AA did a little field work by placing an observor on a busy street corner in Dublin city to monitor road user’s behaviours. The location was deliberately chosen given the high pedestrian footfall, large numbers of professional drivers and road layout which lends itself to slow moving, stop-start traffic.
The AA reports it logged a total of 415 vehicles during this one hour time period. The study reveals that 10 motorists were spotted accessing their phone while driving, two of whom were taxi drivers. Four drivers were also witnessed either texting or accessing information on their phones while they were first in the queue at a red traffic light, one of whom was a taxi driver.
“Thankfully we only saw one motorist holding their phone up to their ear, which is actually better than we had expected. Perhaps people are getting the message, or perhaps it just shows that more people are equipped with hands-free connections,” says Conor.
The most dangerous incident observed by the motor insurance giant during its research involved a middle-aged male who walked out in front of a car with a phone held to his ear, before proceeding to use his free hand to signal ‘halt’ at a moving vehicle. This then left the oncoming motorist with no option but to jam on their breaks.
Notes to the Editor;
Fig 1. When travelling as either a driver or a passenger, how often, if at all, would you notice the following behaviours by other drivers?
(Based on 7,514 responses gathered via June 2015 poll)
|Texting while driving||25.31%||30.55%||26.31%||11.36%||6.47%|
|Holding a hand held mobile device while driving||45.10%||37.76%||12.40%||2.57%||2.17%|
|Texting or accessing information on their mobile phone while stationary at red traffic light||30.22%||36.87%||22.34%||6.94%||3.63%|
|Using a hands free kit while driving||24.41%||34.29%||27.97%||9.06%||4.28%|
|Accessing a Sat Nav or any device in a cradle while driving||9.60%||23.07%||34.61%||21.86%||10.86%|
|Holding a cigarette / e-cigarette while driving||38.42%||31.96%||17.15%||7.56%||4.91%|
|Applying make-up or shaving while driving||10.71%||20.86%||31.58%||21.88%||14.97%|
|Acting in a rude or aggressive manner while driving||17.81%||29.48%||34.33%||14.74%||3.64%|
|Using a roundabout without signalling correctly||49.25%||35.05%||10.90%||2.91%||1.89%|
|Using motorway lanes inappropriately (eg outside lane cruising)||38.83%||37.34%||15.69%||5.14%||3.00%|
|Driving without proper concentration||26.25%||33.18%||29.65%||8.31%||2.60%|
Fig 2. Results of AA Mobile phone usage field study. Conducted by L. Pototzki on 07/05/15 between 12.32pm and 1.32pm at the bend where St. Stephen’s Green meets Dawson Street, Dublin 2.
|% of total|
|Total vehicles recorded during 1 hour period||415||100|
|No. observed holding a hand held mobile phone up to their ear||1||.24%|
|No. observed using a hands free kit||35||8.43%|
|No. observed texting/accessing info on phone while stationary at red traffic light||4||0.96%|
|No. observed texting/ accessing info on phone while driving.||10||2.4%|
|No. observed holiday a cigarette/ e-cigarette while driving||10||2.4%|