IRISH DRIVERS are significantly worse than British motorists when it comes to taking calls and even posting on social media while driving, according to a new survey.
The survey carried out by Ipsos Mori on behalf of Aviva found that Irish drivers are among the worst in Europe when it comes to dangerous habits behind the wheel.
Just over a quarter (26 per cent) of Irish people admitted to texting on their phone while driving compared to just 13 per cent in Britain.
Other dangerous driving habits include taking calls while driving without a hands-free kit – with 45 per cent of Irish drivers admitting to the practice.
That is compared to just 20 per cent of drivers in Britain admitting to picking up the phone behind the wheel.
Driving while talking on the phone without a hands-free set is an offence in both countries – and in Ireland leads to penalty points and a fixed charge notice of €60.
The research also found that 15 per cent of Irish drivers check or post to their social media accounts while driving, a figure that is again more than double the 7 per cent of British drivers who admit to doing the same.
Of the countries surveyed in continental Europe as part of the research, only Italian motorists (17 per cent) use social media more frequently while driving than Irish drivers.
Being distracted by passengers, such as children in the back of the car, is also a common occurrence for Irish drivers with 43 per cent saying it happens on a regular basis – the highest figure in Europe.
Irish drivers are also the worst in Europe when it comes to eating or drinking at the wheel – at 60 per cent.
It was also found that 40 per cent of Irish drivers admit driving while excessively tired compared to 31 per cent in Britain.
Speaking about the findings, Michael Bannon, Underwriting Manager with Aviva Motor Insurance, said: "It is shocking to find that so many drivers are taking such risks, given all that we know about road safety.
"Just a split second of distraction or lapse in concentration can result in death on the road."
The survey interviewed 1,000 adults using online panels in Ireland, Britain, France, Poland, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Canada and the US.
In China, 1,500 interviews were carried out and in India the survey was conducted face-to-face and online.
In total 14,545 interviews were carried out between March 17 and May 1.