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Drink-driving worse than drug-driving

That’s the finding of Central Insurance (1st Central), a leading online provider of motor insurance after conducting a survey of 2000 motorists' attitudes to driving convictions to gauge social acceptability in 2013.

The company, which says that driving convictions are taken into account in 14% of all the quotes that it provides, undertook the survey to inform business thinking related to risk factors.

The findings show that drink-driving is the generally most socially unacceptable driving conviction, but 38% of 18-24 year-olds surveyed thought driving under the influence of drugs was more unacceptable than driving under the influence of alcohol.

And13% of this age category also thought that drink-driving was more socially acceptable than five years ago; this contrasted starkly with 60% of 45-54 year-olds who saw a drink-driving conviction as less socially acceptable now, than five years ago.

Despite high-profile advertising campaigns related to the risks of using a mobile phone whilst driving; only 6% of those surveyed rated this as highly socially unacceptable. Speeding convictions were seen by men and women across all age ranges as the most acceptable conviction.

When asked about their own motoring record, 10% of all those surveyed had a driving conviction. Almost double the number of men (13%) declared a driving conviction compared to women (7%). 15% of these men were convicted of drink-driving compared to 9% of the women with convictions. When looking at age, 25-34 year-olds had the highest incidence of motoring convictions, with 11% admitting to a conviction and this age group also had the highest rate of drink driving convictions at 17%.

Of the 7% of 45-54 years-olds admitting to having a motoring conviction, 80% of these were for speeding.

Peter Creed, chief underwriting officer at 1st Central Insurance, commented: ‘Public attitude to driving convictions influences behaviour and can even act as a deterrent if a conviction is seen as a significant social stigma. We monitor our market in a number of diverse ways to assist business strategy. We are interested in public attitude as this can be translated into generic risk indicators and helps to inform our ongoing thinking related to different underwriting principles.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.