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25% of motorists admit to driving while tired

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Nearly 1 in 4 motorists readily admit to regularly driving while tired – and men are more prone to driving when tired than women.

Exchange and Mart's survey, timed to coincide with Road Safety Week, investigated distracted driving.

Jim Murray Jones, general manager for Exchange and Mart explained: “Our survey results reveal that men and women are equally and most commonly distracted by their passengers, ensuring the air con is ‘just so’ and the music choice is to their liking.  However, men are more prone to being distracted by eating and drinking than women, who are sidetracked by adjusting mirrors, seatbelts and seat positioning.  Whatever the distraction, as many as 72% 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.”

Whilst only 9% of motorists surveyed by Exchange and Mart said they use their mobile phone when driving, mobile phone usage by drivers remains the second most common cause of road traffic accidents. Interestingly, 33% motorists in the 18-24% age bracket admitted to frequently using their mobile phone while driving. It is illegal to drive while using a mobile phone and motorists caught by the police will receive 3 points on their driving licence and £100 fine.

The third largest cause of driving accidents is people getting distracted by things outside their vehicle (7%). External distractions include bill-board advertising, ‘people watching’ or even another vehicle involved in a road traffic accident. In total, one in four people surveyed by Exchange and Mart admit to being easily distracted by events happening outside their car, but 31% of women surveyed admitted to something easily catching their eye, compared to 21% of men;  this goes up to 33% for drivers aged 65 or older.

Murray Jones added: “There are 3 forms of distracted driving, visual, manual and cognitive. Visual distractions will lead to the driver’s eyes being taken from the road, manual distractions cause the driver to take one or both hands from the wheel and cognitive is similar to visual, but will lead to the driver’s attention being drawn away.    

“It’s astonishing to realise that around 95% of all road accidents can be blamed in part to human error. However, a staggering 75% of these can be wholly blamed on human errors. Road Safety week reminds all motorists to stop and think about the things they do, which could be putting themselves and others at risk.   The top ten driving distractions have one thing in common – complacency.  Our new ‘Driving Distractions’ website offers tips, advice and facts about safer motoring, to help people make positive changes that benefit everyone.”

Top Ten Driver Distractions:

By percentage of road accidents caused

How many people surveyed admitted to being distracted regularly by these

Loss of concentration through tiredness



Mobile phone usage



Looking at something outside, other than the road e.g. advertisements or a road accident






Using external devices, such as Sat Nav or hands free equipment (excluding mobile phones)



Eating and Drinking



Fiddling with the car radio/in-car entertainment or heating/air con



Adjusting seatbelts, seat positioning and mirrors



Insects in the car e.g. spiders and wasps



Lighting, smoking and extinguishing a cigarette



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