Driven to Distraction - Survey Supports New Careless Driving Laws

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With new laws on careless driving, survey highlights the distractions that are rife on Britain's roads - from eating Chinese meals to using iPods and e-mail.

With new laws on careless driving, survey highlights the distractions that are rife on Britain's roads - from eating Chinese meals to using iPods and e-mail.

  •     Over 1 in 7 drivers have asked the passenger to hold the steering wheel for them while they do something else
  •     Nearly 90% admit to holding the steering wheel with their knees to allow them to juggle hot coffee, e-mails, takeaway food and more
  •     25% of respondents know someone who has had an accident because of careless driving
  •     Nearly 50% check e-mails on their Blackberry while driving, with a quarter writing documents
  •     1 in 6 have spilt a hot drink while driving

The new laws on careless driving have been welcomed by car hire comparator Carrentals.co.uk, following its survey of 800 drivers, which highlights the use of everything from mobile phones to make up and even Chinese food by UK drivers.

The survey found that over 1 in 7 drivers have asked the passenger to hold the steering wheel to enable them to do anything from tying a shoelace to sending an e-mail or checking a map, underlining the potential danger of driving distractions.

Gareth Robinson, Managing Director of Carrentals.co.uk, said: "The survey findings surprised us, because they showed just how common it is for people to be doing other things while they are driving. The variety of activities that take place behind the wheel is vast, but our main concern was for road safety. The introduction of the new laws are very welcome, and this survey backs up the decision to toughen up on careless drivers whose actions can cause tragic consequences."

The survey found that key distractions included changing music on the radio, with a quarter saying they often do this; checking directions on a map or sat nav; eating while driving; and over 50% still answer their mobile phone.

Nearly 90% of respondents said they have used their knees to steer the car to help keep them on the road while their hands are occupied elsewhere, while 22% use their elbows, and a small percentage even admitted to using their chin.

The issue of driving distractions is causing a growing number of accidents, with the research being told of incidents ranging from bumping the car in front to driving into a hedge and even rolling the car. Nearly 1 in 5 respondents said they knew someone who has had an accident because of distractions behind the wheel.

Adding to the danger on the road, nearly 1 in 6 have, or know someone who has, spilt a hot drink on themselves while driving, while 1 in 10 say they have taken part in a sexual act while driving.

Work is also taken on the road with nearly 50% checking e-mails on their Blackberry while driving, a quarter writing or checking documents, and others working on spreadsheets to ensure deadlines are met.

Carrentals.co.uk is the UK's leading car rental comparison site, comparing prices from companies including Budget, Ebookers, Holiday Autos, Opodo, and EasyCar all on one site. For more information visit http://www.carrentals.co.uk.

About Carrentals.co.uk
Carrentals.co.uk was launched in February 2003 and grew to become one of the UK's leading online car hire companies by 2006.

In 2007 the company re-launched its site to create the first major online price comparator in the travel industry. Using the latest technology the Carrentals.co.uk site now searches up to 50 different car hire websites, providing an impartial comparison of the best prices available in over 7,000 locations.

Websites searched include Budget, Thrifty, Sixt, Holiday Autos, Opodo, EBookers, Carrentals.co.uk and EasyCar, with the Carrentals.co.uk site quickly comparing prices and allowing customers to refine their search by car type.

The Carrentals.co.uk site also features over 6,000 links to useful tourist information sites, plus over 2,700 pages of travel information in a mini-guide format.

In 2008 Carrentals.co.uk was voted Best Car Hire Website in the Travolution Awards. To book or for further information visit http://www.carrentals.co.uk.

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