Fancy a sandwich, doing your make-up or reading a book? IAM RoadSmart and Auto Express lift the lid on motorists’ shameful drive-time habits

Posted on 07/03/17 |

IAM RoadSmart and Auto Express magazine teamed up to investigate  commuters and their bad driving habits on a busy weekday … to find some drivers think nothing of eating, drinking or wearing headphones at the wheel – and some even decided applying make-up and reading a book was acceptable.

The surprising findings were recorded over the course of a day by Auto Express alongside Peter Rodger, head of driving advice at IAM RoadSmart, in two separate London locations.

The research, which is featured in the 1 March issue of Auto Express – the UK’s biggest selling car magazine - observed no less than 66 traffic violations, including 22 instances of hand-held mobile phone use (33%), 12 cases of wearing headphones (18%) and 10 instances of eating and drinking (15%).

Last week (1 March) the penalties for using a hand-held mobile phone whilst at the wheel of a car was doubled to a £200 fine and six points on your driving licence. Those committing the offence in their first two years of earning their driving licence face an instant driving ban.

Of the 22 cases of mobile phone use witnessed, Auto Express reported: “Most appeared to be either sending a text or using an app. And although some put their phones away when traffic continued to move, others started driving while texting.”

Although not in the same league as the use of smartphones, Peter added although eating and drinking is not illegal as such, it can lead to “driving without due care and attention” which is a serious offence - and their reaction times will almost certainly be slower.

But the two cases of people applying make-up and one of a taxi driver reading a book were the most surprising spots by the pair.

Sarah Sillars, IAM RoadSmart Chief Executive Officer, said: “We really need drivers to acknowledge that the use of smartphones can cause serious accidents and is just as socially unacceptable as drink-driving. No phone call is important enough to put other people’s lives in danger.”

Steve Fowler, Auto Express Editor-in-Chief, said: “Our survey was a real eye-opener and revealed what drivers get up to behind the wheel. Mobile phone use has reached an unacceptable level and the new laws are welcomed but this highlights that motorists need to focus more on the task at hand and avoid being distracted.”


Notes to editors

About IAM RoadSmart

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IAM RoadSmart has a mission to make better drivers and riders in order to improve road safety, inspire confidence and make driving and riding enjoyable. It does this through a range of courses for all road users, from online assessments through to the advanced driving and riding tests. IAM RoadSmart is the trading name of all businesses operated by the UK’s largest road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and was formed in April 2016 combining the IAM, IAM Drive & Survive, PDS and IAM Driver Retraining Academy. The organisation has 92,000 members and campaigns on road safety on their behalf. At any one time there are over 7,000 drivers and riders actively engaged with IAM RoadSmart’s courses, from members of the public to company drivers, while our Driver Retraining Academy has helped 2,500 drivers to shorten their bans through education and support programmes.

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About Auto Express

Auto Express is the UK’s biggest selling weekly car magazine. The multi-platform brand delivers the big motoring news stories, scoop pictures, drives of new cars and road tests – FIRST! Nothing moves in the world of cars without Auto Express knowing about it, from future models to changes in the law. Auto Express is the definitive road testing title, too – both in print and online – assessing more cars (over 1,100 a year) than any other title.

Auto Express is the only automotive brand to provide in-depth coverage across all elements of the entire car ownership experience. Over four million unique users visit every month, whilst the weekly magazine sells more copies every year than any other automotive title.

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