Parents moonlight as Unofficial Taxi Drivers

And lose a potential £3,000 chauffeuring kids

28 February 2008

parents' taxi meter Mums and dads around the UK are clocking up over 1,600 miles per year acting as a free taxi service for their children, according to research released today by AA Insurance.

AA Insurance calculates that mums and dads nationwide would be adding an extra £2,983 to their annual salary if they were being paid to chauffeur their kids all around town. And they spend almost a week every year (six-and-a-half days) behind the wheel helping their youngsters get to their after-school appointments - 16 per cent saying they spend an hour a day or more doing so - the equivalent of over two weeks per year.

The survey of 1,237 parents reveals that the UK's dedicated parents travel on average 1,664 miles every year getting their kids from A to B - the equivalent to four round trips from Paris to London.

A fifth (21%) of parents clock up some 2,100 miles per year: the equivalent of £3,729 in 'parent taxi fares'.

To help parents work out the true cost of transporting their troublesome offspring, AA Insurance has launched an online calculator at www.parentstaximeter.co.uk so they can keep a closer eye on the amount of time and money they spend ferrying around theirs - and other parents' - offspring.

The research also suggests that the often-blamed school run is not the main culprit of clocking up the miles on mum and dad's meter but in fact facilitating children's social lives through trips to friends' houses and shopping centres lies at the heart of the free taxi trend.

Providing this service to children can prove a risky, as well as expensive business, according to AA Insurance. Over familiarity with local roads and the mix of junctions, pedestrians and other vehicles can be a recipe for accidents so it's important that parents check they have good, up-to-date insurance cover.

Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, points out that a third1 of all accident insurance claims happen in urban areas, close to junctions and within a mile of home, often because of over-familiarity with local roads. "Even for a five minute journey it's vital to make sure children are properly belted up and safe and don't be tempted to put more youngsters in the car than there are seats. It may be a short trip but there are no short cuts when it comes to safety."

He adds: "Most parents accept that 'Chauffeur' is part of their parental job description, along with 'Chef', 'Cleaner', 'Counsellor' and many more but our research proves they really go that extra mile to ensure their children can get around. With the car at the centre of family life it is essential that parents make sure they are properly protecting their most precious cargo".

Notes to Editors

Results were obtained from a You Gov survey of 1,973 respondents from 21 - 23 November 2007

Parents 'taxi salary' was calculated based on the average cost of a 10 mile journey being £17.93

12005 analysis: 32% of accidents happened within a mile of home

 

28 february 2008