Driver distraction goes beyond mobile phone usage reports AA

Following results that mobile phone usage while driving has increased since 2009, AA Motor Insurance also reports that 73.4% of motorists admit to eating or drinking a non alcoholic beverage while driving at least occasionally.  Of the 22,000 motorists who participated in the AA Motor Insurance poll, 3.4% admitted to doing the highly distracting activity every single day.

A county by county analysis of the AA Motor Insurance poll data suggests that Kilkenny drivers are most likely to engage in the habit either daily or regularly.  6.3% admitted that snacking while driving is part of their daily routine.  Following this, Tipperary and Westmeath drivers appear to be the most likely to eat and drive on a daily or regular basis.  Inversely Dubliners are the least likely to do so.

“Many motorists don’t register that eating while driving is a dangerous habit to fall into.” Says John Farrell, Director of AA Motor Insurance.  “However combining eating with driving can significantly reduce your awareness levels, which in turn impacts your driver reaction times.”

“Lots of people will have a cup of coffee bought from a garage and they will have it in their cup holder as they drive. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t do that but you have to be sensible. You certainly shouldn’t be fumbling with the cup while you are on the move. A simple incident like the lid coming off and coffee spilling could become disastrous.”

Other worrying self-inflicted driving distractions highlighted during the AA Motor Insurance poll are reading while driving and personal grooming.  14.6% of those polled admitted to occasionally reading a book or newspaper while in traffic.  7.5% admitted to brushing their hair, 3.4 to changing their clothes, and 1.9% to flossing their teeth from the driving seat at some time or another.

23% of female respondents admitted to applying makeup and 10% admit to having painted their nails at least occasionally while driving.  4% of male drivers also confessed to using an electric shaver every now and then while in charge of a vehicle.

The AA also highlights SatNavs as a potential source of distraction.  In an earlier AA Motor Insurance poll, conducted last November, 38.6% of SatNav owners admitted to having argued with their passenger because of their SatNav, 44.8% to swearing at the device and 9.3% to having a near miss or a collision.

“Driver distraction is any activity that causes you to take your eyes, hands or mind away from driving.”  Explains Farrell. “When distracted, your reaction time can double which significantly increases your chance of having a collision. While you can’t control distractions outside your vehicle, you can and should do something about what goes on inside.”

Other examples of avoidable driver distraction offered by AA Motor Insurance are changing CDs, tuning in the radio, use of mp3 player, smoking, talking with passengers, tending to children and referring to road maps.  Motorists wishing to share their thoughts and observations on driver distraction are invited to post a comment on the AA Blog at www.theaa.ie

Ends

Notes to the editor;

Fig. 1 Frequency with which motorists carry out the following distracting activities while driving (Based on 22,047 responses): 

Daily Regularly Seldom Occasionally Never Doesn’t apply to me
Eat food/drink a non-alcoholic drink 3.4% 14.2% 11.4% 44.4% 22.0% 4.7%
Read a book/newspaper while in traffic 0.1% 0.7% 2.7% 11.1% 75.8% 9.5%
Change their clothes 0.4% 0.2% 0.6% 2.4% 75.0% 21.5%
Brush their hair 0.4% 0.3% 0.6% 1.7% 65.2% 31.7%
Floss their teeth 0.2% 0.2% 0.3% 1.2% 83.3% 14.8%
Use a handheld mobile phone 1.8% 6.3% 11.0% 36.0% 39.7% 5.2%
Send a text 1.3% 4.1% 8.6% 24.9% 55.0% 6.1%
Use a Smartphone to look up the internet 0.6% 1.4% 2.6% 6.6% 72.2% 16.7%

Fig. 2 Frequency with which MALE motorists do the following while driving (Based on 11,887 responses)

  Daily Regularly Seldom Occasionally Never Doesn’t apply to me
Use a battery-operated shaver 0.3% 0.6% 0.6% 2.5% 80.7% 15.3%

Fig. 3 Frequency with which FEMALE motorists do the following while driving (Based on 8,691 responses)

Daily Regularly Seldom Occasionally Never Does not apply to me
Brush my hair 0.6% 1.5% 3.2% 8.3% 79.5% 6.9%
Do my make up 0.9% 5.5% 4.1% 12.5% 72.2% 4.8%
Paint my nails 0.0% 0.2% 1.4% 8.3% 84.3% 5.8%

 Fig. 4 Regional split of % of motorists who admit to eating while driving (Listed in order of respondents most likely to eat daily or regularly)

  Daily Regularly Seldom Occasionally Never
Kilkenny ( 292 responses) 6.3% 18.8% 10.4% 36.8% 20.1%
Tipperary ( 480 responses) 5.0% 18.3% 10.6% 43.3% 18.8%
Westmeath ( 326 responses) 3.7% 19.3% 10.4% 44.8% 16.9%
Kerry (337  responses) 3.9% 19.0% 12.2% 41.8% 19.0%
Galway (924  responses) 5.1% 17.6% 12.0% 44.4% 17.5%
Cavan ( 207 responses) 1.9% 20.3% 15.5% 36.7% 22.2%
Monaghan ( 114 responses) 5.3% 16.7% 7.0% 48.2% 19.3%
Clare ( 398  responses) 2.5% 18.3% 12.6% 43.5% 18.8%
Carlow ( 207 responses) 4.8% 15.9% 8.2% 44.9% 23.7%
Leitrim (102 responses) 3.9% 16.7% 6.9% 49.0% 18.6%
Mayo (404  responses) 3.0% 17.0% 12.0% 44.1% 20.2%
Donegal ( 329 responses) 3.0% 17.0% 11.2% 49.2% 15.8%
Meath ( 923 responses) 4.4% 15.0% 12.1% 46.3% 19.0%
Kildare (1,358  responses) 4.1% 15.2% 11.0% 47.5% 18.6%
Waterford ( 464 responses) 3.9% 15.3% 14.9% 45.3% 17.2%
Cork ( 2256 responses) 3.4% 15.6% 11.5% 44.8% 20.7%
Wicklow ( 871 responses) 2.8% 15.6% 11.7% 45.1% 20.3%
Offaly (216  responses) 2.8% 15.3% 12.0% 46.8% 18.5%
Laois (259 responses) 1.9% 15.8% 13.9% 42.1% 19.7%
Limerick (711  responses) 2.8% 14.5% 12.0% 45.6% 19.7%
Roscommon (217  responses) 3.7% 12.9% 12.9% 46.5% 19.8%
Wexford ( 557 responses) 2.9% 13.5% 11.7% 47.9% 18.5%
Louth (476  responses) 2.9% 13.4% 11.8% 46.2% 20.4%
Longford (119  responses) 5.0% 10.9% 10.9% 45.4% 21.8%
Sligo (231 responses) 3.5% 12.1% 11.3% 50.2% 17.3%
Dublin (7,588  responses) 2.8% 11.6% 10.8% 43.4% 26.3%

 

5 comments

  1. Pingback: Eating While Driving: AA Ireland Survey Results 2011 | Any Given Food | A Food Blog by Ken McGuire
  2. ok, it’s quite scary how many people say they eat or drink “regularly” while driving. and some people change their clothes?! good thing some of us are on the lookout for danger when driving…

  3. Not changing you cloths while driving is just shocking! I’ve got to admitt though, I’ve picked at food while driving, I think everyones done this at some point.

  4. I’ve actually seen a few point shaving on the way to work. There are some electric shavers which are promoted as traveling shavers, but to shave when you’re driving, that’s crazy! Always stay alert people!!

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