Irish Drivers Using Social Media,
Taking Selfies & Eating at the Wheel
by Morgan Flanagan Creagh | 2 min read October 30th, 2019
Updated research from Allianz, conducted by Coyne Research*, has found that 1 in 4 drivers claim to have used the internet or social media while driving and 18 – 34-year olds are the worst offenders.
Nearly 5,000 motorists were caught using their phones while driving in the first two months of 2019 which, according to the Road Safety Authority (RSA), is a 24% increase on the same period last year1. With this in mind, and following on its previous research in 2018, Allianz endeavoured to find out if the biggest distractors for Irish motorists had changed significantly and shockingly uncovered that people were 2% more likely to use Google while driving than last year.
*Research conducted by Coyne Research in August 2019 across a nationally representative base of 1,000 Irish adults.
Irish Drivers’ Biggest Distractions
Googling something (12%) and checking Facebook (8%) were the worst offenders for distracted driving, followed closely by Instagram and Snapchat at 5% each. 5% even admitted to taking selfies while at the wheel. Those over the age of 55 had the lowest instance of social media use while driving, as 97% claim to have never used the internet while driving.
According to the findings, other major distractions for drivers are children in the car (18%) and the surrounding scenery (23%), while 1 in 3 drivers claimed that other cars or other people in the car were the main cause of distraction. Compared with last year’s findings, those surveyed were 8% less likely to be distracted by their mind wandering (29%).
Meanwhile, eating, drinking, and the car radio remained similar to last year’s findings at between 14-20%. More than half of drivers surveyed used their device while pulled over, over one third said they would check their phone while stopped at lights or a stop sign and 1 in 10 say they use their device as they are driving.
Of those who drive, 81% admitted to using their mobile/hands free/voice technology/smart screen, with the top three functions used being GPS (31%), texts (30%) and voice calls (25%).
Many new cars come with a built-in infotainment system which helps the driver to read and write texts, make calls, navigate and play music, to name just a few functions. Men were more likely to use these capabilities over women, and people aged 25-34 proved more likely to use the features while at a red light or stop sign. Still, half of Irish Drivers have yet to use these technologies while on the road.
Motorists found by Gardaí holding a mobile phone receive 3 penalty points and a fixed charge notice of €60. Using your device while driving critically distracts you physically, visually, aurally, and cognitively, according to the RSA2.
We will hopefully see great improvement with automation technology in cars in the coming years. For now, remember that checking your phone at any time while driving is dangerous and illegal, and has series repercussions as you put yourself and other people’s lives at risk.
Consider turning your smartphone on ‘do not disturb while driving’ mode when connecting to your car’s Bluetooth system. Arrive safe and set your phone aside until you get home.