Safe Driving Report 2019

Next time you see someone driving erratically, take a closer look.

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

Next time you see someone driving erratically, take a closer look.
According to our new report, there’s a good chance they’re eating, texting or making a call. There’s also a reasonable chance they’re smoking, dealing with a child in the backseat or applying makeup, and a possibility that they’ve fallen asleep, are reading a newspaper or just decided to see how far they could go with their eyes closed.

We polled 1,000 Australian drivers about their riskiest habits. Find out who Australia’s most dangerous drivers are, and why.

Plain text version: Safe driving report

Safe Driving Report 2019

  • 11.9 million Australian drivers have taken their eyes off the road for reasons ranging from applying makeup to reading a book.
  • And these dangerous driving habits aren't on the decline with 62% of Aussies indulging is risky driving in 2018, and 70% taking risks* behind the wheel in 2017.

What are the most common risky habits?

  • The most common dangerous driving habit is eating a meal behind the wheel (44%)
  • 25% are driving in thongs – It might be legal but it's certainly unsafe
  • 1 in 5 have answered a call or text
  • 1 in 50 of Australians have even watched a movie

Which of the following have you done in the act of driving?

#ActivityPercentage of Aussie drivers
1Eaten food44%
2Driven in thongs25%
4Reached back to deal with children12%
5Texted (without using voice control)11%
6Answered a call directly to my ear (not using handsfree)10%
7Driven with my knees7%
8Used social media5%
10Applied makeup5%
11Replied to an email4%
12Changed clothes4%
13Watched a movie/TV show2%
14Read a newspaper/book2%

How does your state stack up?

  • Queenslanders are the worst offenders, with two thirds (66%) admitting to reckless driving habits.
  • New South Wales drivers are by far the safest with almost one in two (46%) claiming they've never done anything risky behind the wheel.
  • Western Australians are the most likely to chow down on a meal while driving with 49% admitting to eating behind the wheel, in comparison to only 39% of drivers in New South Wales.
  • 1 in 20 have had a microsleep - but NSW drivers are still the worst offenders when it comes to falling asleep behind the wheel.
  • Western Australians have a bad case of mobile phone addiction, with one in three (33%) checking their device while on the road.

Men vs. women

  • Men are the worst offenders with 63% admitting to doing something dangerous behind the wheel, in comparison to 60% of women
  • Surprisingly, women are more likely to drive in thongs than men
  • Men are just as likely to reach for their phone as women with 1 in 4 admitting to doing so
  • More women indulge in a meal behind the wheel

Further breakdown

Metro drivers are safer than regional drivers, with 40% stating they've never done anything dangerous behind the wheel in comparison to only 34% of regional Aussies.

Almost 1 in 2 Baby Boomers not engaging in risky driving. Only 36% of Gen X and 34% of Gen Y have refrained from unsafe driving.

Surprisingly, the youngest Aussies drivers are safer than those older than them with 40% stating they've never done any hazardous driving.

Aussies without young kids are much more likely to be safe drivers than those with kids.

Can car insurance help us?

Everyone knows that other drivers can do scary things, but now it's clear why. If you're one of the few Australians that doesn't take risks behind the wheel you'll definitely want to have the car insurance to protect yourself from the rest.

And if you are, you might want to check your cover, as Taylor Blackburn, insurance expert at reminds, "If you're deemed to have been driving recklessly or engaging in risky behaviour behind the wheel and you are in an accident, you may not be able to claim the damage on your insurance. Comprehensive car insurance also won't cover damage that's been caused by illegal activities such as texting and driving."

No matter how you drive, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Picture: Unsplash

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Go to site