Sainsbury’s Car Insurance Driver Behaviour Index 2011: Dramatic Improvement In Road Safety

05 August 2011

The Sainsbury’s Car Insurance Driver Behaviour Index 2011(1) reveals that British roads are becoming safer, as driver behaviour has improved significantly in the last year.  The number of motorists that admit to driving while using a mobile phone has almost halved in a year from 11% in 2010, to just 6% in 2011. The number of drivers that admit to texting while at the wheel has fallen from 6% to 4% in a year.

There is no room for complacency however; reaction times for drivers using a phone are around 50% slower than normal.  Indeed, over 9.8 million drivers a month risk fines and endorsements(2) on their licence because of their actions behind the wheel.

The number of drivers admitting to driving while feeling tired, the cause of 20% of crashes on major roads(3) , has reduced by 10% in the last 12 months. The number of drivers that admit to being under the influence of alcohol consumed the night before has fallen dramatically from 11% last year to 6%.

When getting behind the wheel this year, drivers said they were more likely to take basic safety precautions, as 3% more people are wearing their seat belts and 5% more people are ensuring that they have good visibility and are not driving with fogged up or frozen windows.

Ben Tyte, Head of Sainsbury’s Car Insurance, said:  “It is fantastic to see that driver behaviour on our roads is improving.  Campaigns such as the Government’s hard hitting Think! activity has had a real impact on driver behaviour. We’d like to see an even greater improvement next year and would encourage drivers to think about the risks associated with less obvious driving bad habits such as eating behind the wheel or driving in inappropriate footwear.”

2011 has also witnessed a reduction in aggressive driving behaviours on British roads.  Just 2% of drivers admit to road rage, down from 6% in 2010.  The number of drivers tailgating has also fallen, from 6% to 5% in the last year.  Worryingly, excessive speeding is the one metric where driving behaviour has deteriorated over the past year.  One-in-five drivers (19%) has admitted to driving with excessive speed in the last month, driving more than 10 mph over the speed limit, compared to 16% making this admission 12 months ago.

The Sainsbury’s Car Insurance Driver Behaviour Index reveals that eating and drinking behind the wheel remains the most prevalent ‘bad habit’ on the roads, 27% of drivers admit to doing this in the last month alone.  However, the number of drivers admitting to this offence has fallen by 11% in a year.  The summer washout this year may account for the dramatic reduction in people driving in inappropriate footwear, such as flip flops, which has reduced from 18% of drivers on 2011 to 12% of drivers this year.

Table One:  Driving behaviours (Source:  Sainsbury’s Car Insurance)

Driving behaviour Percentage of drivers admitting to these behaviours 2011 Percentage of drivers admitting to these behaviours 2010
Eat/Drink while driving 27% 38%
Driving while tired 18% 28%
Driving wearing flip flops / no shoes 12% 18%
Excessive speeding 19% 16%
Using mobile phone while driving without a hands free kit 6% 11%
Texting while driving 4% 6%
Driving while probably over the limit from the night before 6% 11%
Driving after an alcoholic drink 6% 6%
Driving without a seat belt 5% 8%
Driving in a car where visibility through the windows is limited 3% 8%
Driving too slowly 2% 8%
Driving while reading a map 2% 8%
Driving with a pet loose in the vehicle 6% 7%
Tailgating 5% 6%
Road rage 2% 6%

Drivers in the West Midlands are the most likely to drive excessively fast, with a quarter (25%)  admitting to exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 mph in the last month.  Drivers in the North West are the worst culprits when it comes to using their phones while driving, 12% chat without a hands-free kit while behind the wheel and 7% send text messages.

Sainsbury’s new car insurance products offer customers with a Nectar card a discount of up to 15% on their premiums and the opportunity to earn double Nectar points on their shopping for two years – equivalent to an extra 1% off their bills(4) .   For those regularly spending £100 a week, the additional saving could be as much as £52 a year which is equivalent to 6.4% of the average car insurance premium(5) .

As well as offering competitive premiums, Sainsbury’s Car Insurance offers two options of cover, a standard policy and a Premier product. Both products offer some of the widest range of cover and benefits available in the marketplace.

For further information on Sainsbury’s Car Insurance, call 0800 092 9934, visit or pick up a leaflet in store.

– ENDS –

For further information, please contact:

Phil Anderson / Ian Morris
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
020 7638 9571

Notes to editors:

Regional breakdown:


Driving behaviours Scot North East North West York’s & Humber West Mid Wales Eastern London South East South West East Mid
Eating & Drinking 19% 29% 29% 30% 30% 37% 32% 23% 24% 30% 22%
Fatigued 13% 22% 15% 21% 20% 23% 16% 14% 22% 18% 14%
Driving  in flip flops / no shoes 4% 16% 10% 11% 13% 21% 9% 11% 11% 18% 14%
Excessive speeding 10% 15% 20% 15% 25% 22% 14% 22% 19% 21% 19%
Using mobile phone 3% 4% 12% 6% 7% 6% 4% 4% 3% 7% 5%
Texting 3% 4% 7% 2% 7% 3% 3% 2% 4% 4% 3%
Programming GPS on the move 7% 19% 19% 18% 23% 9% 16% 13% 19% 14% 22%
Driving under the influence of alcohol from the night before 3% 5% 9% 5% 9% 7% 3% 4% 4% 7% 5%
Driving without a seat belt 1% 4% 8% 4% 9% 5% 4% 4% 4% 8% 5%
Driving with limited visibility 1% 2% 1% 3% 7% 1% 3% 3% 4% 7% 1%

(1) ICM interviewed a random sample of 1548 drivers aged 18+ via online between 29th-30th June 2011.  Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted (grossed-up) to the profile of all adults (over 18s).  ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.  Further information at

(2) 9.8m figure from ICM survey – see note 1. Info on fines and endorsements: &


(4)  Sainsbury’s new car insurance product provided by RBS Insurance is available to new customers only. Those shopping at Sainsbury’s with their Nectar card already receive points equivalent to 1% off their shopping. Holding Sainsbury’s Car Insurance or another one of the supermarket bank’s qualifying reward products, doubles this Nectar reward. A customer with a qualifying Sainsbury’s Finance reward product who spends £100 a week in store will therefore receive the equivalent of £52 worth of extra Nectar points a year.

(5) According to research from, the average car insurance premium in April 2011 was £814.80. £52 as a percentage of this equals 6.38%.

Sainsbury’s Finance:

To view our latest press releases and product information, please visit the Sainsbury’s Finance online media centre

Sainsbury’s was the first major British supermarket to open a bank, commencing trading in February 1997. Benefiting from a fantastic, trusted brand that enables us to combine the shopping experience with personal finance, Sainsbury’s Finance provides a range of quality products including insurances, credit cards, savings and loans. Our proposition is to make shopping more rewarding by offering customers great products at fair prices, while consistently rewarding shoppers for their loyalty and being easy to do business with at all times.  Our products consistently top Best Buy tables and regularly win awards for quality, price and service.

Sainsbury’s Finance recent awards include Best Overall Online Provider, Best Online Pet Insurance Provider, Best Online Personal Loan Provider and Best Direct Home Insurance Provider at the Your Money Awards 2011.

Sainsbury’s Finance is a joint venture between J.Sainsbury plc and Lloyds Banking Group.

For further information and general Sainsbury’s Finance enquiries customers can call the freephone number on 0500 40 50 60 or visit

About RBS Insurance

RBS Insurance is the second largest general insurer in the UK1 and is wholly owned by The Royal Bank of Scotland Group. Headquartered in Bromley, Kent, it has operations in the UK, Germany and Italy.

It provides a wide range of general insurance products to consumers through a number of well known brands including; Direct Line, Churchill and Privilege. It also provides insurance services for third party brands, through its UKI Partnerships division.  In the commercial sector, its NIG and Direct Line for Business operations provide insurance products for businesses via brokers or direct respectively.

In addition to insurance services, RBS Insurance continues to provide support and reassurance to millions of UK motorists through its Green Flag breakdown recovery service and Tracker stolen vehicle recovery and telematics business.

1 Based on policies in force 2010.

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