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24.10.2015 Distracted driving


Did you know that the most common reason for crashing a car is being distracted? Given that there are so many things you can be distracted by, it’s perhaps unsurprising.

Even the best multi-taskers can only focus on a certain number of things at once, and with so much to concentrate on while driving, adding other things into the mix can have deadly consequences.

93 per cent of crashes are caused by some kind of driver inattention, according to Volvo. And in nearly half of those collisions, the driver was so oblivious to their surroundings that they didn’t take any kind of action before impact.

Chris Jones is an accident investigator in the south west of England, and he’s got a wide experience in investigating the cause of some pretty grisly crashes.

“A disproportionate number of the crashes I have to investigate are caused by young drivers, with inattention a key factor in most of them. It’s this, combined with a lack of experience, that proves such an explosive cocktail.

“Sometimes I have an injured occupant or two who can help me work out what went wrong, but too often I’m called to a crash scene where there are no survivors and there are several unknowns. In such instances, it’s inattention that tends to come out as the most common reason for a collision.

“When I’m sifting through the charred remains of a supermini, I often think to myself – can switching the radio station or sending a text really be worth such a high price? Of course it can’t, but there’s no second chance for the drivers who get it wrong”.

What are the penalties?

If you’re found guilty of of careless driving or driving without due care and attention, you can be fined up to five grand and get 3-9 points. Kill somebody in the process and you can be imprisoned for up to 14 years and given an unlimited fine. You’ll automatically be banned for two years as well.

Face the music

Your choice of music can have a massive effect on how you drive. According to, classical music is likely to make you drive erratically, hip-hop makes you drive aggressively and you’ll probably drive too fast if you listen to heavy metal. Fast beats can lead to you focusing more on the music than on the road, while listening to music you don’t like can cause stress and distraction which can cause you to drive more erratically.

The most common distractions*

  • Texting – 51%
  • Talking on phone – 45%
  • Changing radio/CD player – 40.4%
  • Staring at an accident – 39.8%
  • Eating or drinking – 37%
  • Children in the car – 36%
  • Chatting to a passenger – 32.3%
  • Road rage – 32%
  • Having an argument – 31%
  • Lighting a cigarette – 29%

*According to an Autoglass survey of 3000 drivers