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Crash and dash drivers cause £3.5bn of damage to other motorists’ cars

26th March 2010

  • 20 per cent of motorists have been victim of a crash and dash incident

A fifth (20 per cent) of motorists have been a victim of a ‘crash and dash’ accident over the past five years as a result of a careless driver not owning up to damaging their car after a prang, reveals a new report by car insurer Direct Line*.

The average crash and dash victim is left with a £539 bill to repair the damage after the culprit left the scene of the accident without leaving their details, totalling £3.5billion nationwide since 2005**. An unfortunate one in ten (9 per cent) victims of unscrupulous motorists has been left with damage costing in excess of £1000 to repair.

Car casualties of parking wars

Supermarket and shopping centre car parks are the scene of the majority of crash and dash incidents (42 per cent), as shoppers try to squeeze their cars into too-tight spaces and battle it out to be first to the next free spot.

One in five (19 per cent) careless crash and dash motorists damaged another car while it was parked on the street outside the owner’s home, suggesting they are likely to have damaged a neighbour’s car.

Andy Goldby, Director of Motor Underwriting at Direct Line, commented: “It can be tempting to drive off from a minor accident if the other car owner doesn’t witness your motoring mishap. However, not leaving your vehicle and contact details is illegal and can cause considerable stress for the other party and result in them having to pay the excess costs on their car insurance.”

Shifting the blame

While four per cent of motorists admit to being the perpetrator of a crash and dash incident, four in ten (39 per cent) look to shift the blame to the owner of the damaged car for parking in a dangerous or foolish position. A further third (33 per cent) thought they would just ‘try their luck’ as there were no witnesses to prove their guilt.

A significant proportion of crash and dash drivers (7 per cent) decided not to inform the owner of the car they damaged as they had been drinking alcohol at the time of the incident.

Younger drivers are the most unscrupulous after an accident, with twice as many (8.5 per cent) motorists aged under 30 admitting that they have driven straight off after causing damage to another motorist’s car without leaving a note with their contact details.

Andy Goldby added: “While some motorists are simply bad drivers, there are some steps you can take to help minimise the risk of your car being damaged by a careless motorist, such as pulling in your wing mirrors, leaving a larger gap between parked cars and parking in well lit areas.”

For further details on Direct Line Car Insurance, including tips and advice on road safety and visit directline.com

For further information, please contact:

Vicky Perry
Direct Line
Tel: 0208 313 5741
Email: Vicky.perry@rbs.co.uk

Notes to editors

*Direct Line research commissioned with Opinium Research in an online poll of 1,991 UK adults from 2nd to 5th February 2010. Of these 1,524 were motorists.
**20 per cent of motorists have been victim of a crash and dash driver. 20 per cent of 33million motorists nationwide (source: ONS) is 6,600,000 motorists. 6,600,000 multiplied by average repair cost of £539 is £3.557billion.

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides car, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc. Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0845 246 3761 or visiting www.directline.com