Despite the recent backlash against the use of cell phones while driving, talking on a mobile phone is not the number one pet peeve among American drivers. According to a new study commissioned by QuickenInsuranceSM (www.QuickenInsurance.com), cell phone use ranked as the third most objectionable driving practice (71%), while reading the newspaper (94%) and putting on makeup (83%) were perceived as far more reckless. In addition, playing the radio loudly (58%) placed fourth while combing one's hair (57%) came in fifth.
"Motorists need to realize that just because they are not using a cell phone while driving doesn't mean they are not practicing distracting driving behavior according to a majority of those drivers polled," said Velvet Beard, Vice President of Product Development, QuickenInsurance. "While each person's standard of conduct is different, it is clear that certain reckless driving practices are creating widespread issues on America's roads. These practices distract the driver's attention, which can increase the likelihood of an accident."
Upon further examination, the study also found that:
- Sixty-one percent of drivers believe reading the newspaper should be a ticketable offense; more than 10% feel dining drivers should be penalized;
- Despite a better understanding of the time-consuming process, more women (55%) are bothered by drivers applying makeup in the car than men (43%);
- Thirteen percent of drivers surveyed have received tickets over the past 12 months, the majority (76%) averaging 1.5 tickets during that time period;
- Of those receiving tickets, 69% paid the fine while 11% pled not guilty and eight percent plea-bargained. Four percent simply ignored the ticket.
"Errors in judgment can dent wallets as quickly as car doors," added Beard. "To be safe, consumers today, especially those with younger drivers in their families, need to ensure that they have comprehensive insurance coverage, and QuickenInsurance offers a plethora of cost-effective solutions."
Interestingly, 10% of drivers report they drive faster when listening to music in the car; six percent admit to driving at increased speeds if the music is fast/loud. Nearly three out of ten drivers (28%) who have received a traffic ticket in the past 12 months prefer fast/loud music while driving. More drivers who listen to fast/loud music on their car radio (45%) say they slow down past an accident to see what's going on, or "rubber-neck," than found among drivers in general (36%). According to the survey, sixteen percent of "rubber-neckers" have received a traffic ticket in the past year.
The survey also reveals:
- Ninety-five percent of drivers who have received a ticket in the past 12 months listen to music while they drive, compared to 87% among those who have not been ticketed.
- Approximately 71% of drivers sing when they are in the car; more than half (52%) report they sing along with the music while driving alone, but nearly as many (40%) sing even when someone else is in the car.
- Fifty-five percent of drivers listen to traffic reports on the radio while driving;
- Nearly three out of four traffic report listeners (73%) consider these reports accurate and valuable; in fact, 57% of traffic report listeners actually change their route to avoid delays.
Regional highlights include: Northeast
- People in the Northeast feel stronger (68%) about giving a ticket for reading a newspaper than in any other region of the country (59% in the West, 58% in North Central and 60% in the South).
- Forty-four percent of Northeast drivers proceed past accidents at normal speeds; 39% rubberneck; and 15% speed away.
- Forty percent of Northeast drivers listen to traffic reports and will change their route as needed; 20% listen before they go anywhere; 19% listen while driving but won't modify their plans; and 11% listen before driving but never change their driving route.
- Among Southerners polled, 60% of adult drivers listen to traffic reports; 61% feel they are accurate; 16% say they come too late; and nine percent feel traffic reports don't report important problems.
- Fifty-three percent of Southerners sing while driving alone; 37% sing even if they are not alone in the car; eight percent drive faster when they like the music; seven percent drive faster if the music is fast/loud; and five percent drive slower if they like the music.
- Forty percent of Southerners drive at the normal speed past an accident; 36% rubberneck; and 21% speed away.
- Fifty-two percent of Western adults listen to traffic reports; 55% feel the reports are accurate; 19% say the reports come too late; and nine percent say the reports do not highlight the important problems.
- Two of out five (41%) Western drivers listen to traffic reports and will change their route as needed; 19% listen before they drive anywhere; nine percent listen while driving but won't modify their plans; and eight percent listen before driving but never change their route.
- Among Westerners, 51% proceed past an accident at normal speed; 27% rubberneck; and 20% speed away.
- In the North Central region, 85% of adult drivers listen to music; 34% listen to slow or soft music; 36% listen to any music; and 15% listen to fast/loud music.
- Thirty-five percent of North Central drivers polled proceed past an accident at normal speed; 41% rubberneck; and 19% speed away.
- Forty-eight percent of North Central drivers listen to traffic reports; 54% feel the reports are accurate; and 42% will change their route as needed.
This telephone study was conducted by Bruskin Research, which polled a random sample of 1,006 Americans, ages 18+, from September 14 -17, 2000. The overall margin of error is +/- 3.2 percentage points.
QuickenInsurance (www.QuickenInsurance.com) is the leading insurance service Web site on the Internet, offering real-time, online term life and auto insurance quotes, complete with multiple payment options. The site, which was named the top insurance aggregator by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in 1999 and the number one Internet insurance marketplace by Gomez Advisors for two consecutive seasons, also features a library of educational material to assist consumers in learning more about insurance, as well as interactive insurance planning tools and information from independent experts.
QuickenInsurance is part of Quicken.com™ (www.Quicken.com), which provides individuals with information and software tools to help them make better financial decisions.