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From speed to selfies: drivers behaving badly

29th June 2015

  • One in ten new drivers break the speed limits within a day of passing their test*
  • A fifth of new drivers display bad motorway driving behaviours within a week of passing their test**
  • Over a third of drivers brake badly and career around corners

New research by The Co-operative Insurance has shown that much of what is taught to pass the driving test is forgotten by over a fifth of drivers*** within a week of them tearing up their ‘L’ plates*.

Speed, braking and motorway driving continue to be the main themes of bad driving, however social media is now playing a role in bad driving behaviours.

The research, by the UK’s first mainstream telematics insurer has revealed modern distractions are now entering into driver behaviours.   The research highlights, over 1 in 50**** drivers have updated social media feeds, taken selfies or recorded videos whilst driving.  And the 25-34 age group are the most socially active in their vehicles, with almost 1 in 10 admitting to updating their statuses and over 1 in 20 taking selfies.

Despite over half (54%) of drivers classing their driving as at least ‘very good’, over a quarter (26%) of drivers display bad speeding behaviours within a week of passing their test, with 10 per cent breaking speed limits within 24 hours of becoming a legal driver.  Of the drivers who speed, two fifths (43%) admit to regularly breaking the limit by 5 per cent, nearly a quarter (24 %) regularly break the speed limit by 10% and a tenth (10%) of drivers regularly exceed the speed limit by 20 per cent.

The 17-24 age group are the most likely to display bad speeding behaviours, with four fifths (81%) admitting to doing so. Drivers aged over 55 are the safest when it comes to speed, with over a third (37%) saying they never display these behaviours. Men (74%) are marginally more likely to speed than women (72%).

Despite this, the research reveals that two thirds of drivers (67%) believe that their driving has improved since they passed their test, with nearly three quarters (72%) of drivers thinking that passengers who drive with them regularly would agree.

However, when it comes to motorway driving, over two thirds (69%) of drivers admit to regularly driving badly. In addition to speeding, where 31% of drivers admit to driving 5mph over the speed limit, 28% 10mph over the speed limit and 15% 20mph or more over the speed limit drivers admit to regularly undertaking (8%), middle lane hogging (7.9%) and ignoring temporary speed limits(5.9%).

Braking and cornering isn’t much better with over a third of drivers (35%) admitting to inappropriate behaviours, with a tenth of drivers admitting to regularly braking late (11%).

The research also shows that over a quarter (28%) of drivers believe they wouldn’t be able to pass their driving test if they took it today, with drivers aged 25-34 (30%) most pessimistic about their chances. The main reason for this is because they have adopted bad driving habits (45%) with more drivers under 24 (53%) believing this to be true of them than any other age group.

Steve Kerrigan, Head of Telematics at The Co-operative Insurance said: “When you pass your driving test, you naturally begin to develop your own driving style which in many cases is different to the style you drove to pass your test.

“However, drivers have a choice between driving courteously and safely, or making choices which could have a negative, even devastating, impact on other road users and pedestrians. Taking selfies and updating a social media status is simply not acceptable, or legal.

“There is an understanding from drivers themselves that they generally have adopted bad driving behaviours.  However, rather than simply acknowledge it they need to take action to drive safely for the benefit of other road users and the public.   Telematics policies like The Co-operative’s Young Driver scheme are designed to help new drivers improve their style by providing feedback, for example when they are braking too hard or taking corners too fast. ”


Note to editors

* Of the 72.6% of drivers who admit bad speed behaviours, 11.7% admit to displaying them within a day of passing their test
** Of the 68.6% of drivers who admit bad motorway driving behaviours, 20.1% admit to display them within a week of passing their test
***Admit to bad speed behaviours – 72.6% - within week – 26.6%, Admit to bad motorway behaviours – 68.6% - within week – 20.1%, Admit to bad cornering/braking – 35% - within week – 37%. Average total: 27.9%
**** Of the 59.6% of drivers who admit to bad behaviours, 3.3% admit to status updates and 2.8% taking selfies

Research carried out by OnePoll on behalf of The Co-operative Insurance with 2,000 UK drivers

About The Co-operative Young Driver Insurance

The Co-operative’s Smartbox works like a Sat Nav or GPS to record driving style, rewarding safe young drivers with a discount every 90 days. It uses data collected from four different driving parameters, including average speed, acceleration or braking, the time of day the car is driven and how fast corners are taken.  
An added bonus of having the SmartBox installed is the useful tracking device meaning stolen cars can be recovered.

An online dashboard, which can also be accessed via a smart app, keeps track of the driving score and performance, enables access to the policy documents 24/7, and provides helpful tips to improve driving.   

For further information please contact:

Jenna Moss
Press & Media Relations Manager – The Co-operative Group
Tel: 0161 767 4354/07540 641368

About The Co-operative Group:

The Co-operative Group, one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives, with interests across food, funerals, insurance, electrical and legal services, has a clear purpose of championing a better way of doing business for you and your communities. Owned by millions of UK consumers, The Co-operative Group operates a total of 3,750 outlets, with more than 70,000 employees and an annual turnover of approximately £10 billion.