Motorists driven to distraction
The latest report into driving habits on our roads also revealed motorists get caught-up in pile-ups because they eat full meals as they drive, apply their make-up on the move and use mobile phones without a hands-free kit.
Boy racers have been identified as the nation's worst drivers, with almost half saying they have caused an accident because of such distractions.
A third of teens confessed to being distracted because they regularly text behind the wheel, a quarter because they supped a hot drink and just under a fifth because they preferred to stare at attractive people, rather than keep their eyes on the road.
The research, commissioned by Setanta Insurance, concluded that road users between the ages of 51 and 55 were the country's best drivers.
Only 2 out of ten motorists in this category admitted to causing a crash because of such distractions.
Mike Matthews CEO and founder of Setanta Insurance, who polled 2,000 drivers, said: "These are a very interesting set of results and prove there is nothing better than experience and a calm head behind the wheel.
"Young people are clearly more caviler and I don't think it will come as any great surprise that we have identified teen drivers and so called boy racers as the worst drivers in the country.
"However what is interesting is that drivers in some older age groups actually admitted to being guilty of more bad driving habits than the teens, but they crashed less. This shows the inexperience of teenage drivers.
The new study also revealed that Ireland's best drivers live in County Wicklow, while the worst come from Clare.
A third of drivers in Clare told researchers they had crashed more than once because they were distracted behind the wheel. While among Wicklow motorists the figure was merely 5%.
Interestingly a third of road users in Carlow confessed to applying make-up while they drove, a fifth of motorists in Sligo and Longford said they have eaten a full meal while driving and the same number in Offaly admitted emailing on the road.
Mr. Matthews added: "I am shocked that people think they can drive and either email or do their make-up at the same time, its craziness. Many drivers seem to forget that we need all our attention to be on the road to prevent accidents.
"This is not rocket science, it is basic common sense. Driving needs your 100% concentration and many motorists, especially younger drivers seem to have forgotten this simple fact."
Setanta Insurance, launched in October 2007, is one of Ireland's newest and most dynamic insurance companies.
The company attributes much of its success to the decision to sell its products only via brokers rather than direct to the consumer.
Mr. Matthews said: "As the fastest growing vehicle insurance company in the Irish market we have a primary aim of changing the face of motor insurance for the good of both the private and commercial driver across Ireland.
"Commissioning this study has helped us to better understand the key issues so that we can work pro-actively with our broker partners to tackle potential problem areas with them and their customers."
Last year Setanta Insurance launched Ireland's first ever anti-drug driving campaign called Keep Drama off the Roads (www.keepdramaofftheroads.ie).
Top Five distractions
- A hot/cold drink
- Using a mobile without hands free
- Changing a CD
- Staring at an attractive person
For more information please contact Gary Quinn at Mason Media on 0151 239 5053 or 07745 962401 or email email@example.com
The poll was conducted online by OnePoll throughout August and surveyed 2,000 people in total.
Setanta Insurance's website can be found at www.setantainsurance.com
For more information on Setanta Insurance drug driving campaign go to www.keepdramaofftheroads.ie