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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 has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.