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15% of drivers have thrown litter while at wheel in last month

By / 5 years ago / Latest News / 1 Comment

Over 7.6 million drivers admit to littering from their cars, with non-degradable packaging topping the list of items that drivers are most likely to throw away while driving.


Young people are five times more likely to have thrown litter out of a vehicle than those aged 55+

Research from Churchill Car Insurance finds that one in seven drivers (15%) have littered while at wheel in the last month alone. The research shows that non-degradable items like soft drink cans, plastic bags and fast food wrappers are the most common items we’re happy to dispose of while driving (8%). This is compared to 5% who throw out degradable litter such as fruit and other foods.

Drivers who smoke also contribute to the UK’s littering problem; 5% dispose of cigarette butts and e-cigarettes on the roads.

When asked why they litter on roads, 25% admitted to throwing away rubbish behind the wheel due to force of habit. Just over one in five (21%) litter to prevent clutter in the car, followed by 20% who either admitted they couldn’t stop on the road or wanted to concentrate on diving.

The research also found that young people are five times more likely to have thrown litter out of a vehicle than those aged 55+. Indeed, more than a quarter (28%) of drivers aged between 18 and 34 admit to having thrown litter out of the window while behind the wheel, compared to just one in 20 (5%) drivers aged over 55.

The research examined the type of deterrents that would be effective in preventing UK drivers from littering. Fines emerged top of the list, with 43% admitting the threat of a financial penalty would stop them littering. This was closely followed by receiving three points on their licence (42% or a one month driving ban (37%). Interestingly, a third of littering drivers (33%) would reconsider their littering ways if a damning photo was posted in their local newspaper or they were subjected to community service.

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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.