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Male drivers more than twice as likely as female ones to crash due to distraction, says survey

Findings revealed ahead of next year's new rules that will see women pay more for insurance...

A survey has found that male drivers are more than twice as likely than female ones to suffer an accident because they have been distracted at the wheel. The news comes in the wake of a landmark ruling earlier this year by the European Court of Justice, due to be implemented in the UK by the end of next year, that will make it illegal for insurance companies to differentiate between customers due to gender.

That means that insurance companies such as Sheila’s Wheels that target women with lower rates will no longer be able to do so, while women aged below 26 years are likely to face a hefty rise in motor insurance premiums to bring them into line with their male counterparts, despite the latter being the highest-risk group on the road in terms of accidents.

According to a survey carried out by Santander, with the results reported in the Daily Mail, 11 per cent of men admitted having had an accident as a result of being distracted while they were driving. That compares to just 5 per cent of women.

Men were also much more likely to have experienced a near-miss due to eating or drinking at the wheel or fiddling with the car stereo, at 30 per cent versus 20 per cent. Among the behaviour that drivers admitted led to their being distracted were using mobile phones, shaving, putting on make-up, reading books or maps, and kissing the passenger next to them in the front seat.

At 96 per cent, texting at the wheel was considered the most dangerous activity that could prevent a driver from concentrating on the road, yet one in five admitted to having done just that. Most respondents said that they became angry due to the behaviour of other motorists, yet three in four confessed to having become distracted themselves.

Colin Greenhill, director of Santander insurance, commented: “Clearly, motorists understand their risky behaviours are dangerous but many take their eyes off the road to do something other than driving. Concentrating on the road ahead is essential and drivers should adhere to this, regardless of how "important" their other task may be.”


Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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