Avoiding outside influences and distractions is a key part of remaining safe on the road and a fascinating new AA study has highlighted some very interesting facts when it comes to the most common distractions.

Adult passengers are the biggest in-car distraction for drivers, a survey of 18,026 AA members reveals.

Nearly two out of five AA members (38% of the AA-Populus poll) say their attention has been significantly diverted by other people in the car, ‘old’ technology and ‘new’ technology in the past 12 months.

The survey*, which asked “Have you been distracted, had a near miss or a crash caused by any of the following whilst driving over the past 12 months?”, found that some of the more traditional distractions still pose the biggest threat:

The affected AA members responded:

  1. Adult passengers – 18%
  2. Twiddling with the radio – 16%
  3. Children in the car – 14%
  4. Operating the sat nav – 13%
  5. Mobile phone conversation – 12%

Overall, of the 6,867 respondents distracted, 548 (8%) had a near miss and 106 (1.5%) had a crash.

88 deaths due to distraction

Latest government statistics** show that driver distraction contributed to 88 deaths in 2012, of which 17 were attributed to mobile phone use.

In-car distractions accounted for 5.5% of the 1,608 deaths in reported road accidents.

Killed and serious injuries from distractions made up 664 or 3% of the reported 21,796 total, while slight injuries from distraction numbered 4,848 or 3.5% of the 136,991 reported road accident casualties.

Mobile phones

However, mobile phones, the only technology category in the ‘impairment or distraction’ set of statistics, showed a higher death rate compared to other in-car distractions.

The 17 deaths, set against a total of 548 casualties attributed to use of mobile phones, gives a fatality rate of 3%.

Among other in-car distractions, 71 of the 4,964 related accident casualties (1.4%) proved fatal.

Driver’s sole responsibility

The vast majority of the AA-Populus survey respondents (87%) accept that it is the driver’s sole responsibility to ensure these new technology and ‘infotainment’ systems do not result in interaction and distraction whilst driving. These systems include mobile phone integration, sat-nav, voice control, access to music playlists on a mobile device, texting, e-mail or even web browsing systems in their vehicles.

The higher kill rate for mobile phone-related reported accidents provides a strong wake-up call

Edmund King, AA president

For the full results on the poll, please visit the official AA website – https://www.theaa.com/newsroom/news-2014/adult-passengers-biggest-driver-distraction.html