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Deadly distractions: Driver behaviour that’s too common on our roads

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Millions of Australian motorists are putting lives at risk by multitasking behind the wheel, according to new research by Finder.

A Finder survey of 1,090 respondents found more than half (56%) of Australians are guilty of some form of driver distraction, ranging from questionable to illegal.

The research found 1 in 10 (13%) Aussies are still texting and driving, while 9% are on social media behind the wheel.

The survey found 7% had watched a TV show or movie while operating a motor vehicle, and the same proportion (7%) had changed clothes while on the move.

Gary Ross Hunter, car insurance expert at Finder, said the research signals a crisis in driver behaviour.

"New technologies and busy lifestyles have brought on an increase in reckless habits like texting while driving.

"Driving a vehicle requires undivided attention but more and more people are driving blind."

Do you drive in one of the most dangerous areas of NSW?

On average, more than 100 people are killed in car crashes every month in Australia, according to the Australian Automobile Association (AAA).

In NSW, 289 people have lost their lives in a road fatality since March 2022.

Finder looked at road-related injuries and fatalities in every LGA in NSW over a 5-year period to find out which are the most dangerous in the state;

  1. The Central Coast topped the list for the most dangerous LGA in NSW for driving – with sadly at least 57 lives lost since 2017 due to vehicle incidents.
  2. This was followed by Canterbury-Bankstown which has the highest percentage of minor, moderate and serious vehicle injuries in all of NSW – 3,783 Australians have been injured on its roads in the past 5 years.
  3. Blacktown. At least 2,723 people have been injured or killed by cars in the area since 2017.
  4. Sydney. The busy and often congested LGA makes the top 5 largely because there are many more car accidents here than in any other part of NSW.
  5. Liverpool. Liverpool has the seventh largest population in NSW and its inclusion in the top five means it's a more dangerous area to drive in than other populous LGAs.

For the full list, visit

Hunter said not paying attention on the road can have catastrophic consequences.

"Some drivers treat their cars like their second home – putting other road users at risk attending to tasks which should be reserved for the bathroom or kitchen.

"What might seem harmless like putting on a jumper or digging into a take-away meal could result in a higher risk of crashing which could lead to injury or worse.

"Drivers can cop fines and even prosecution if they have a crash and it is determined they were distracted."

The dangerous driving trends are more common among young Australians – a disturbing 78% of Gen Z admit they multitask behind the wheel.

Hunter urged drivers to find safe switches while on the road.

"Listen to news podcasts instead of reading the newspaper behind the wheel, and use voice to text for any communications on the road.

"Maybe switch your flip-flops for a more suitable pair of driving shoes next time you hit the road.

"Reading through the conditions of your insurance policy can be a sobering reminder to follow the road rules," Hunter said.

Have you done any of the following in the past 12 months while driving?
Eaten food42%
Driven in thongs23%
Texted (without using voice control)13%
Reached back to deal with children9%
Used social media9%
Kissed a loved one8%
Changed clothes7%
Watched a movie/tv show/streaming service7%
Replied to an email7%
Answered a call directly (not using handsfree)6%
Driven with your knees5%
Applied makeup4%
Read a newspaper/book4%
I have not done any of these things while driving44%
Source: Finder survey of 1090 respondents, June 2023

Here are 5 tips to save money on car insurance.

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