Driver Distractions

Make-up in cars: "What else are red lights for, darling?"

30 December 2009

Putting on mascara, watching 'Battlestar Galactica' on a lap top or ogling attractive pedestrians are all activities that drivers get up to behind the wheel, according to the AA.

The AA is calling on drivers to make a New Years Resolution to reduce driver distractions. Cases of driver distraction have included:

  • A 22 year old woman was charged with careless driving and fined £200 with 6 penalty points for a 'mirror, signal, mascara' offence on the move.
  • When asked about the problems of make-up on the move, a 60 year old socialite quipped: "What else are red lights for, darling?"
  • It is not just women who get caught out with bathroom antics, as a man in Scotland was fined £300 and banned for six months for having a close shave with an electric shaver on the move.

Other drivers have been fined for eating apples, Mars bars, and texting.

Driven to distraction

(Populus interviewed 21,173 AA members online between 3rd and 10th August 2009)

70% of males actually say that they have been distracted by an attractive person in another car or on the street, although only a quarter of women claim to have been distracted in this way.

A nice view75% were distracted (77% male) (72% female)

A low aircraft55% were distracted (60% male) (48% female)

An attractive person in another car or on the street51% were distracted (70% male) (25% female)

An advertising billboard52% were distracted (53% male) (50% female)

Roadside art30% were distracted (32% male) (28% female)

Irritating behaviour of other drivers

When it comes to drivers commenting on the irritating behaviour of other drivers their number one hate is the tailgater – that driver that sits on your tail.

Tailgaters – 30% (May 20081), 36% (May 20092)

Talkers(mobiles) – 26%, 23%

Hoggers (middle lane) – 20%, 18%

Crawlers – 6%, 5%3

Swoopers (lane switchers) – 5%, 6%


Commenting on driver distraction, Edmund king, AA president, said:

"We hope that drivers in 2010 will make a resolution to leave their bad habits behind them. Some treat the car as an extension of their home and think nothing of applying make-up, shaving or watching movies on the move. Mirror, signal, manoeuvre should be the driver tactic rather than mirror, signal, mascara. A poll earlier this year estimated than more than a quarter of women touched up their make-up on the move4.

"The worst I have seen is a driver eating a Chinese take-away with chop sticks whilst manoeuvring his BMW through narrow residential streets. To cut road deaths in the next decade we need to reduce driver distractions."

Join the discussion in the AA zone

1Populus received 18,547 responses from AA members to its online poll between 23rd May and 2nd June 2008

2Populus interviewed 14,743 AA members online between 1st and 8th May 2009.

3 4 times more 18-24 year olds are irritated by drivers going too slowly than those aged 45 and above.

4Diamond poll of 4,000 drivers


5 January 2010