• Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

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Driving with headphones still legal despite distractions causing 15% of all accidents

A leading car insurance comparison site is calling for motorists to take extra care if they wear headphones while driving.

Quotezone.co.uk warns that although it is legal for motorists to wear headphones at the wheel, the risks should make even the most experienced drivers think again.

The comparison expert points to Department for Transport figures from 2019 that reveal that 15% of motoring accidents are due to some form of distraction, accounting for 26% of all deaths on the road.

Evidence from a Nelson and Nilsson study in 1990 showed how headphones can distract drivers and lead them to missing vital clues about road warnings.

The study also revealed that audio cues are often the first warning of an unexpected event, and at 46mph a 0.3 second difference in reaction time results in a 6-metre difference in stopping distance, which could be critical in an emergency situation.

While driving with headphones is legal, Rule 148 of the Highway Code states drivers and riders should ‘avoid distractions’ such as loud music that could mask other sounds.

Motorists can risk penalties starting from a £100 fine and 3 penalty points if they are convicted of reckless driving as a result of being distracted.

Quotezone.co.uk says 3 points on a licence can add 5% onto insurance premiums annually and 6 points can increase premiums by 25% – and these costs are likely to stay until the points are spent at least 4 years later.

The motoring insurance comparison website advises that when driving overseas, it is vital that motorists also check the local laws before getting behind the wheel, as driving with headphones has been made illegal in some countries including France and 17 US states.

Greg Wilson, Founder of Quotezone.co.uk, comments: “It might be a surprise that it’s still legal to drive while using headphones in the UK.  Headphones eliminate surrounding noises such as ambulances, car horns and pedestrians.  Without these warning signs drivers have less time to react and less chance of avoiding incidents which can be incredibly dangerous.

“Newly qualified drivers in particular should take note, having likely learnt to drive in silence – even the radio on for those first outings could affect their concentration.  With all the excitement that comes from passing your test, new drivers need to be wary of distractions such as friends, children, loud music and headphones – they need to give themselves as much time and information as possible to be able to react to emergency situations.”

Quotezone.co.uk helps over 3 million users find a more competitive deal each year on everything from car insurance to learner driving and young driver insurance.  Quotezone.co.uk is rated ‘excellent’ and recommended by 97% of reviewers on Trustpilot.