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12 November 2008

Distracted drivers turn aggressive when smoking at the wheel

- Three quarters of smokers say their driving is negatively affected by smoking
- Three out of 10 young drivers become aggressive when smoking at the wheel
- 60% of young drivers become distracted when they light-up

A new survey reveals drivers who smoke at the wheel are aggressive and severely distracted.

According to the survey by Autoglass, three quarters (75%) of smokers say their driving is negatively affected by smoking at the wheel, with six out of 10 (61%) admitting they become distracted when flicking ash out of the window. More than six out of 10 (65%) take their eyes off the road when lighting-up while three out of 10 (30%) admit to not concentrating when trying to find their cigarettes. More than five out of 10 (55%) say it is harder to steer when smoking as they have less control of the wheel.

A third (32%) of young drivers aged 17-25 say they tend to become more aggressive if they light-up when driving and more than four out of 10 (45%) reveal they take their eyes off the road. Nearly half (40%) also admitted they don’t drive as carefully when they’re smoking.

The Autoglass poll, which questioned 3,000 drivers, also reveals that seven out of 10 (70%) drivers think smoking at the wheel is dangerous and should be banned.

During an average one hour journey, if a driver smokes three cigarettes, they will spend a quarter of the journey time (25%) not concentrating on the road, putting millions of motorists and their passengers at risk.

Amanda Sandford, of the campaign group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) said, “Smoking while driving is incredibly dangerous and by becoming distracted, the smoker is putting themselves and other drivers at risk. There are also serious health implications for the smoker and passengers, so encouraging people not to smoke while driving is a positive move and will have the benefits of reducing their passengers’ exposure to toxic fumes.”

Nigel Doggett, managing director of Autoglass, says: “Our research shows that smoking at the wheel is a severe hazard. Driving is a complicated business, and not an area where you can multi-task. If drivers become distracted, they put themselves and millions of other motorists at risk. This is a road safety issue which must be taken very seriously.”

Autoglass is committed to campaigns that help raise awareness for motorists about the importance of driving safely.

More information about this story can be found at With 109 branches nationwide and 1,200 mobile service units, Autoglass is the UK’s leading vehicle glass repair and replacement service. For details of your nearest centre call 0800 36 36 36 or visit


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