Eating, Texting, Shaving: Aussie Drivers' Shockingly Dangerous Road Habits Revealed
Some 11 million Australians are taking risky behaviour behind the wheel, including watching movies or putting on makeup while driving.
Eating, texting, dealing with a child in the back, applying make-up and even watching movies -- believe it or not, these are the dangerous habits adopted by a large number of Australian drivers.
More than 60 percent of Aussies are engaging in risky behaviour behind the wheel, according to the latest Finder Safe Driving Report.
That equates to 11 million of us driving distracted.
The survey of 1800 people found that Queensland motorists appear to be the most dangerous, with two-thirds admitting to driving distracted. In contrast, NSW drivers are the safest with 46 percent claiming they've never engaged in risky conduct while driving.
The most common distraction? Eating fast food. Almost half (44 percent) of us have chowed down on a burger, chips or something else greasy while stuck in traffic.
Second on the list was driving while wearing thongs, a habit a quarter of us admit to. While it might sound innocent enough, the loose-fitting footwear can easily become wedged under the pedal -- making them extremely dangerous for drivin.
Unsurprisingly, mobile phone use was a major issue.
More than 20 percent of the 1800 people surveyed admitted to texting or answering a call up to their ear, while a further five percent of drivers have taken their eyes off the road to check social media.
Others openly admitted to reaching to the back seat to deal with children, driving with their knees, putting on makeup, changing clothes, reading a book, watching a movie and even shaving.
Why does this matter? Because distracted driving is a massive issue in Australia -- it's linked to 14 percent of all crashes and one in 10 road deaths, according to NSW Roads and Maritime Services.
It is the Baby Boomers generation who are the riskiest -- or, at least, the most honest -- with almost half admitting to engaging in risky driving, that's compared to 36 percent of Gen X and 34 of Gen Y.
Fines for distracted driving can range from $193 to more than $500, while those caught can also be penalised with demerit points.
The Queensland government argues the penalties are not enough. The state has proposed a $1000 fine for those distracted behind the wheel, to help get the message across.
"Research shows distracted driving is as dangerous as drunk driving," Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey told 10 daily on Wednesday.
People are literally killing themselves and killing others because they can’t keep their hands off their phone.
"We’ve seen a major cultural shift in our attitude to drunk driving and we need to have that conversation now about our obsession with screen time while driving," he continued.
The Top 15 Dodgy Driving Habits
Eating food: 44 percent
Driving in thongs: 25 per cent
Smoking: 13 percent
Reaching in the back to deal with kids: 12 percent
Texting: 11 percent
Answering calls directly to ear: 10 percent
Driving with knees: seven percent
Checking social media: five percent
Microsleeping: five percent
Applying makeup: five percent
Replying to emails: four percent
Changing clothes: four percent
Watching TV: two percent
Reading a book: two percent
Shaving: one percent