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Lockdown driving habits revealed: 46% spike in driving without due care, and hitting parked cars named the most common accident of 2020

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The latest investigation from Admiral car insurance into driving behaviours in 2020, has revealed that hitting a parked and unattended car accounted for 26% of all accident claims last year, an increase of more than 2% compared to 2019.

The findings, which form part of a wider study of motorist behaviour in 2020, reveal that while the UK was in a national lockdown for most of the year, accident claims involving drivers hitting parked cars overtook rear end shunts as the most common type of claim. In fact, claims for being hit in the rear or hitting another driver in the rear accounted for 24% of
accidental damage claims over the year, a fall of 3%.

Breaking the rules of the road

As well as looking closely at their own internal accident claims data, the insurer also investigated whether motorists’ driving behaviour changed last year.

Admiral submitted an FOI request to police forces across the UK to find out if more motorists were caught breaking the rules of the road in 2020, compared to 2019.

The insurer found that, of the police forces who responded to the request, 70% saw an increase in the number of motorists that were either caught speeding, driving without due care and attention, or driving furiously.

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Driving without due care

In total, 60% of the police forces reported an increase in the number of motorists charged for driving without due care and consideration. Of those, on average, police forces reported a 46% increase in the number of motorists charged for the offence.

On average, February was the month with the highest increase in motorists caught driving without due care and consideration, with a 150% increase reported in February 2020 compared to February 2019.

Driving without due care and consideration is a charge given for motorists who have caused an accident by not paying attention to the road, and instead let themselves get distracted by a passenger, their sat nav or radio. It can also be issued to drivers caught trying to do other things, like their hair and make-up, while behind the wheel.

Admiral’s FOI request also uncovered that of the police forces who responded, Surrey had the highest increase for motorists convicted of driving without due care and consideration with a 188% rise last year, compared to 2019.

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Speeding up in lockdown

Meanwhile, 30% of the police forces who responded to Admiral’s FOI request reported an increase in drivers caught exceeding the statutory speed limit. On average, September was the month with the highest rise in this type of offence.
Of those, on average, police forces reported a 51% increase in the number of motorists charged for speeding.

The FOI data also revealed that of the police forces who responded, West Mercia had the greatest spike in the number of motorists caught breaking the speed limit with a 162% last year, compared to 2019.

Further analysis of Admiral’s own data from 2020 revealed that speeding was the most common driving conviction code added to a policy at renewal. Drivers caught exceeding the speed limit on public roads accounted for 69% of all convictions added at renewal, while 16% of convictions added to a policy were for speeding on a motorway.

Frustrations behind the wheel

Admiral’s FOI request also uncovered an increase in motorists caught driving furiously in 2020, with 13% of police forces reporting an increase in the number of people caught committing the offence.

Driving furiously is the charge given to motorists caught driving in a way that endangers either the passenger or a person expected to be on the road. Whether that’s putting their life at risk or causing them physical harm.

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Clare Egan, Head of Motor Product at Admiral, said: “Despite national lockdown restrictions meaning fewer cars on the roads last year, our internal data and the data collected from police forces across the UK shows that the number of people caught speeding and hitting parked cars actually increased in 2020.

“With the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions starting to come into play across the UK, we’re reminding motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike that traffic will probably increase, and as it does the risks of accidents will also rise. Regardless of how you plan to travel around after lockdown, it’s important that all road users take care and abide by the rules of the road to keep themselves and others safe.

“Drivers caught and charged with a motoring offence, like speeding or driving without due care and attention, may notice a difference in the price of their insurance premium. In some of the more serious instances, insurers may not be able to provide cover for drivers, if the motoring conviction they’ve received means they could endanger themselves and other road
users.”

Admiral has created a handy guide to help drivers understand how motoring conviction codes can affect their car insurance premium and driving licence.


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