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Distracted Driving – Not a risk worth taking

By Renee Cassidy on

Research on distracted driving conducted in the US has uncovered some alarming statistics on common causes of distraction which in many cases can lead to road accidents.

Below, we explore the main causes of driving distraction as outlined in the study, and the increased risk drivers face as a result. Prof. Allan Manning, LMI Group also provides some tips to help eliminate the many distractions around you when driving.

The top ten causes of driving distraction are listed below as published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 

The list indicates the increased level of risk for each distraction vs. normal driving without distractions:Distracted Driving Image

  1. Distraction while reaching for something 8.82
  2. Insect in vehicle 6.37
  3. Looking at something outside the vehicle 3.70
  4. Reading 3.38
  5. Applying makeup 3.13
  6. Using phone (dialling/texting) 2.79
  7. Inserting/retrieving CD (Adjusting radio/temperature) 2.25
  8. Eating 1.57
  9. Drinking from an open container 1.03
  10. Interacting with passenger in adjacent seat 0.50

To put these figures in context, this research illustrates that reaching for something is almost nine times riskier than normal driving!

The results above supports multiple studies conducted in Australia regarding the adverse consequences of such distractions. For example, a study conducted by Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) found that 3.2% of crashes were caused by passenger interactions and 0.9% from using a mobile phone.

The cost of distracted driving

It’s no surprise that driving distractions can be a danger to yourself and other road users. Aside from the negative impact caused by a car accident, or traffic infringement, the cost of distraction can affect you in other ways, namely, your vehicle’s insurance premium.

If you have a high incidence of insurance claims on your driving history, this can in many cases lead to a sharp increase in your insurance premium. Just think, if an accident occurred because you became distracted while driving, the potential premium increase you face could be very avoidable.

Based on the potential costs outlined above, it is clearly in your best interests to eliminate any distractions before an accident occurs.

Prof. Manning highlights three sensible strategies to avoid becoming another distracted driver statistic:

  1. Plan your phone calls
  2. Ignore the phone, or place it away from your line of vision
  3. Drive defensively – defensive driving techniques provide you with more time to respond to changing road conditions e.g. pre-setting temperature controls, look ahead of the vehicle in front of you to understand what is coming, and deal with distractions in a safe location while parked.

Source: Zurich North America

We highly recommend reading the full article here. This article originally featured on Prof. Allan Manning’s Blog, 2015.

If you have concerns about the impact of distracted driving on your insurance policy please contact us on 1300 424 627 or visit


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