Shocking number of motorists admit to driving distracted

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New research has revealed the shockingly high number of motorists who drive distracted, despite knowing the dangers.

Of the 185,010 road traffic injuries and fatalities that were seen in the 12 months to June 2016, nearly 139,000 could have been prevented if motorists had been less distracted at the wheel.

That's according to car sales website Exchange and Mart, who carried out the research and released it as part of the 19th Road Safety Week, which is currently underway.

Loss of concentration through tiredness is the greatest cause of distraction-related road accidents (63 per cent), with 24 per cent of motorists saying they regularly drive when fatigued.

The second largest accident cause is mobile phone usage, with 12 per cent of accidents being due to this and nine per cent of drivers admitting to the distraction.

Twenty-six per cent of motorists have looked away from the road at something outside the vehicle – a distraction which causes seven per cent of accidents – while 40 per cent of drivers admit to being distracted by their passengers. This was the cause of five per cent of accidents.

Distraction via external devices, eating and drinking and making adjustments to entertainment or air con account for two per cent of accidents each, however the number of motorists who admit to each act varies. Twenty per cent said they used a satnav or handsfree set while driving, 35 per cent admitted indulging in a snack at the wheel, while 63 per cent regularly make various in-car adjustments while driving.

Accounting for one per cent of accidents each, were adjusting seatbelts, seating position and mirrors, insects in the car and smoking. Thirty-six per cent of drivers admitted to the first, 33 per cent to the second, and 25 per cent to the third.

Jim Murray Jones, General Manager for Exchange and Mart commented: "Whatever the distraction, as many as 72 per cent of drivers have admitted to multitasking whilst driving and as such are putting themselves and their passengers at considerable risk. The launch of our Distracted Driving website will support people making the Brake Pledge; to drive slow, sober, secure, silent, sharp and sustainable."

The website is asking motorists to 'Make the Brake pledge' this week, and start obeying the six rules, which while simple can save lives.