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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 February, 2005, 08:02 GMT
Drivers 'distracted by gadgets'
car stereo
Fiddling with a car stereo could cause an accident
Almost half of drivers admit they have been distracted by in-car gadgets, sometimes even causing them to crash, according to a survey.

One in five of 1,500 drivers quizzed by Privilege Insurance admitted swerving out of their lane while changing CDs or fiddling with the instruments panel.

Some drivers said manufacturers should limit the number of gadgets in cars.

But road accident consultant Doug Boulton said the decision to use gadgets should be left to drivers.

The survey found one in 20 motorists admitted breaking the law by answering their mobile phones while driving without a hands-free kit.

What've we got to do, put the driver in a glass cage like a taxi driver, so he can't touch anything or do anything?
Doug Boulton

One in four said they had been distracted while changing a CD or tape, one in 10 while cleaning their windscreen or adjusting the heating and 14% by adjusting music volume.

Ian Parker, managing director of Privilege Insurance, said: "The research findings highlight the extent of the problem of adding more, and increasingly complex, accessories to cars.

"It is clear that many drivers recognise the dangers of being distracted when driving and many have even been involved in accidents as a result."

Mr Boulton said he did not think manufacturers should be made to restrict in-car gadgets.

"What've we got to do, put the driver in a glass cage like a taxi driver, so he can't touch anything or do anything?

"It's got to be down to him or her.

"The one gadget I would take out of most cars is the cigarette lighter. I think that is, without doubt, dangerous.

"I've always been amazed that they've gone on about mobile phones but they've never done anything about that."

8,000 drivers fined in phone ban
10 Feb 05 |  Northern Ireland


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