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Catch up with the latest press releases from LV=

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Driven to Distraction

Press release: 26/05/2007

  • Eight million drivers say children in the car distract them when driving
  • Three in every five drivers have driven on automatic pilot – with no recollection of driving from A to B

It's official – children drive their parents round the bend! Research (1) from LV= General Insurance reveals that nearly eight million drivers (2) name having children in the car as the major reason for loss of concentration when driving, effectively putting them at greater risk of causing accidents. The latest annual figures show there were nearly 150,000 (3) accidents on Britain's roads, 2,895 (4) of these caused by distractions in the vehicle.

Even more alarming is the number of people who admit to driving totally without recollection of how they got from A to B. As many as three in five drivers (57 per cent) admit to being stricken by a condition commonly known as 'automatic pilot' - losing concentration for no reason and being unable to remember all or part of their journey once they've arrived at their destination. Women (59 per cent) admit to driving on 'automatic pilot' more than men (54 per cent). Plus, younger drivers (18 – 29 years) are also more susceptible, with 12 per cent admitting to switching to 'automatic pilot' on a regular basis compared with only four per cent of the more experienced over 50s.

Top 5 driving distractions, in order

Most cited consequence of distraction


Concentration would be lost

Hand held mobile phones

Concentration would be lost

Using audio entertainment

Eyes would be taken off the road

Eating & drinking while driving

Hands would be taken off the wheel

Using satellite navigation

Concentration would be lost

Andrew Beard from LV= General Insurance, said: "On today’s busy roads, with 16 per cent (5) of accidents having fatal or serious consequences, it is vital to maintain 100 per cent concentration when behind the wheel. It is frightening to think what can happen in the split second when drivers take their mind of the road."

Even the simplest tasks that drivers perform regularly, such as changing a CD or switching the radio station – cause over half of drivers (57 per cent) to look away from the road or to drive erratically (13 per cent). Smoking, another habitual action for some, worryingly causes drivers to take their hands off the wheel (28 per cent) and their eyes off the road (28 per cent).

Beard continues: "With the holiday season just around the corner, many families will be setting off on longer than usual car journeys – preparation is the key to help avoid in-car distractions. Packing the car with travel games and books before you set off will help to keep the children amused whilst on the move. You may also want to think about getting your CDs loaded and your radio tuned, so you can listen to your favourite tracks without having to fiddle with the audio equipment.

"Taking time to research the best route beforehand will help to minimise the risk of resorting to a map while driving and help you to plan out well spaced stops. Taking breaks enables drivers to rest and allows children and pets to exert pent up energy. All of these things should help keep drivers minds focused solely on the road."


  1. The research was conducted between February 13th and 15th, 2007. YouGov interviewed a sample of 2397 people, representative of the known population profiles from the 2001 Census.

  2. According to the research by YouGov (see point 1) 24 per cent of drivers get distracted by children in the car. There are 33.3m drivers in Great Britain (source: Department of Transport). 24 per cent of 33,300,000 equals 7,992,000.

  3. Total number of road accidents in Great Britain in 2005 was 147,509. Source: Department of transport .

  4. Total number of accidents in Great Britain in 2005 caused by a distraction in a vehicle was 2,895. Source: Department of Transport .

  5. In 2005, 2,613 accidents were fatal plus 21,280 accidents were serious accidents therefore 23,893 divided by the total number of accidents 147,509 equals 16 per cent. Source: Department of Transport .