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Kids, inebriated friends and talkative spouses found to be most at fault for distracting drivers

Just under 12% of motorists admit to having been involved in a near miss or an incident after being distracted by the actions of a passenger in their vehicle, recent research has found.

In response to an AA Car Insurance survey of more than 5,000 motorists, 11.7% of respondents admitted that they had been involved in either a near miss or a collision after being distracted.

In total, 10.05% admitted to being involved in at least one near miss, with 0.84% having found themselves involved in a single collision as a result of passenger distraction.

The survey also found that 0.34% of respondents had been involved in two collisions because a passenger had distracted them, with 0.47% having been involved in three or more distraction-caused incidents.

Conor Faughnan, AA Director of Consumer Affairs, said: “We’re coming into a busy time on Irish roads as the combination of poor weather conditions, Christmas shopping and the holiday party season leads to more cars on the road at peak hours, as well as many of us doing more driving outside of the traditional commuting hours than we would normally do.

"While the motorist must do everything they can to avoid being distracted, we would also encourage passengers to understand the dangers associated with driving and avoid doing anything which could take the driver’s attention off the road.

"Over the coming weeks many of us will be attending work parties and may be relying on a designated driver or sober colleague to get us home and it’s important, even if you are a little inebriated, that you ensure you are not representing a danger to the driver and ultimately other road users.”

The survey found that in incidents where a driver had been distracted by a passenger leading to either a near miss or a collision, children were found to be the number one culprit.

Of those who admitted to being distracted by a passenger while driving, 46.24% stated that the passenger at fault was one or more of their children.

Almost a quarter of the time (22.35%) it was the spouse or partner who was at fault for causing the distraction.

Mr Faughnan said: “Between fighting or playing with siblings in the back seat, sudden illnesses or unexpected bursts of tears, many parents find themselves in a situation where they’re trying to attend to their children while driving and failing to notice how dangerous this is.

"Even if your eyes are off the road for just a split second you could put yourself or another road user at serious risk so our advice would always be to pull in if the child’s behaviour is distracting you and only continue your journey once everyone has calmed down."