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Allianz France – CSA 2023 Barometer: Distractions at the wheel, a resounding observation

On Thursday 25 January, Allianz France and CSA unveiled the results of an in-depth study into the driving behavior of French drivers. The survey, carried out between 7 and 14 September 2024 among 1,003 motorists over the age of 18, sheds light on the various sources of distraction that drivers face, looking closely at their use of car equipment and mobile phones. What equipment do they have? How do they use it? Are they aware of the penalties for using the phone? Are they ready to adopt solutions to be less distracted at the wheel? Discover the results of this study in this article, which details all the answers…

“4 out of 10 drivers feel they are not always concentrating when driving”

This is partly due to the democratisation of mobile phone use. In fact, mobile phones are increasingly being installed in the dashboard of vehicles (42%). As a result, 78% of drivers use their mobile phone while driving. Although there are now authorised ways of using the phone (Bluetooth, wired connection, appropriate holder) and despite the ban on using the phone at the wheel, 39% of those questioned use it by putting it on their lap, on the passenger seat, or by holding it in their hands.

This type of behaviour has a major impact on road accidents and deaths. Using a mobile phone triples the risk of an accident. This figure rises to 23 if you are reading a text message, according to government road safety figures. Drivers are forced to take their eyes off the road for around 5 seconds on average. Every year, 23% of bodily injury accidents are attributed to a lack of attention. Finally, this study reveals two other notable factors of distraction at the wheel. The most common distractions are eating a meal (36%) and turning round to talk to back-seat passengers (24%).

Optimising the dashboard and ADAS for distraction-free driving

According to a study conducted by Allianz France and CSA in 2023, improving the ergonomics of the dashboard and driver assistance systems (ADAS) offers a chance of reducing distractions at the wheel. At present, ever more innovative dashboards monopolise the attention of 42% of drivers while driving. A significant percentage (15%) feel that this demands excessive attention, sometimes leading to irritation. And this despite an overall perception of its ease of use (92%) and user-friendliness (93%).

Furthermore, for 19% of users, GPS is a particularly complex function to use via the dashboard. Drivers under the age of 35 are more critical of their dashboard. In the same way as they are of driver assistance systems (38% vs. 26% overall). Another source of annoyance and irritation concerns voice commands, which have been adopted by 20% of drivers.

Mobile phones, dashboards, voice commands and driver assistance systems are all potential sources of distraction, or even additional irritation, in addition to traditional functions such as the car radio, air conditioning, GPS, etc. Optimising these interfaces would have a positive effect on the driver’s driving experience. Optimising these interfaces would play a crucial role in ensuring a smoother, safer driving experience.

With almost 80% of motorists still using their phone while driving, there is still a long way to go to prevent this type of behaviour. The sources of distraction in a vehicle have increased with the development of driving aids, sophisticated dashboards and other integrated equipment, all of which help to improve safety on the roads.


Beyond penalties, Allianz France is considering solutions

An overwhelming majority of 65% of drivers prefer tighter controls and penalties to a total ban on using a mobile phone at the wheel. Similarly, 61% support a significant increase in the fine for offences. However, only 21% of drivers currently know the amount of the fine (€135). And only 16% are aware of the number of points deducted (3 points for unauthorised use). Among the alternatives explored, filtering allowing only emergency calls has a solid acceptance rate of 52%. The ban on hands-free kits also met with considerable approval, with a rate of 50%.

As a player in the field of prevention, Allianz is working to raise awareness, inform and educate its customers and the public about the dangers of distractors at the wheel. To this end, the German insurer is promoting innovative and fun solutions to raise awareness and share responsible best practices that make travelling safer…

We have just launched the second episode of our new Crash Test video series. It focuses on the role of distractors in road accidents. And to help share best practice, Allianz France travels the length and breadth of France every year with the “Allianz Prévention Tour.” A travelling event dedicated to prevention. In 2023, this event, the only one of its kind in France, has already visited 53 towns and cities, raising awareness among almost 30,000 people through educational workshops and experiments focusing on road risks and ways of limiting them.


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