Trucks at Work

Is music next on the driver distraction hit list?

So I’m scrolling through the online news items today and come across a survey conducted in the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland, etc.) that highlights music as a growing source of distraction for car drivers. Even better, it goes a wee bit further to show that some types of music (i.e. “classical” music a la Beethoven and Mozart) causes far distraction than others, such as Jazz and the Blues.

[Interestingly, “heavy metal” didn’t get mentioned … though I am quite certain it would rank high on the “most distracting” list ]

The survey – conducted by a company with the truly awkward name of Allianz Your Cover Insurance – discerned that the average driver in the U.K. listens to seven hours of in-car music per week, equating to 13 billion hours of what the firm dubbed “noise pollution” on U.K. roads every year.

[Wait a minute!!! Rock and roll ain’t noise pollution!! Well, that’s what AC/DC says … and I believe them!]

“Our research found that one in ten car drivers admit that listening to music has caused them to have or nearly have a car accident. This rises to nearly one in three amongst 18-24 year-old drivers who have been side-tracked by music,” noted Allianz’s Natalie Woods in a statement concerning the firm's survey.

“Singing along to music whilst driving can be fun, but as the motorists we polled admitted, listening to music in the car can be a distraction,” she stressed. “We want to make sure drivers put their safety needs first.”

OMG, really??!! I mean come on!!! If music starts getting lumped in with cell phone calling and texting as a major cause of driver distraction, drinking coffee can’t be far behind – and I couldn’t take that!!

Here are a few more tidbits from Allianz’s survey (most of which, I must honestly admit, just make me want to roll my eyes) about the intersection between music and driver distractions:

  • Jazz and blues fans are the most easily diverted on the roads, with a quarter of such self-described aficionados saying they’ve gotten into car accidents by being “too tuned into” their music.
  • Classical music fans are the most cautious drivers by not getting too carried away to the beat with only 6% having veered off course by listening to music.
  • Drivers in the U.K. play music for an average of 72% of the time they are in the car and over a quarter (27%) of drivers admit to listening to music every time they are in the car.
  • Why listen to music in the car? Surprise, surprise: most U.K. drivers say they do so because it makes the journey go quicker (61%), it's relaxing (47%) and they simply enjoy singing along (42%).
  • Men are more likely to be entranced by their music as nearly a quarter (22%) of men have had or nearly had an accident due to listening to music, whereas this has only happened to 12% of women.
  • Motorists cited that fellow passengers talking (48%), children (44%) and mobile phones (41%) also caused them to take their eyes off the road. Nearly one in five drivers admitted to having a car accident due to talking to their fellow passengers.

Gadzooks! At some point we’ve got to call of the driver distraction dogs here, folks! Texting while driving and talking on the cell phone behind the wheel are certainly dangerous and almost wholly unnecessary activity when operating a motor vehicle.

Grooving out to good music while rolling down the highway? Come on! Even the CANADIANS celebrate THAT! Heck, the great Canadian band Bachman Turner Overdrive immortalized such behavior in song back in 1975 you know!

Let's let the music roll, people!

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