Don’t Tweet and Drive Warns Swinton Insurance

UK drivers have been warned not to ‘Tweet and drive’ after a jump in the number of accidents caused by in-car social networking.

Swinton, the UK’s leading car insurance provider, has reported a 12% year on year increase in the number of claims for crashes caused by drivers using Twitter, Facebook and other social network sites while behind the wheel. Most have been minor prangs in slow moving traffic while drivers have been distracted.

The car insurance company has warned drivers that any distractions behind the wheel can lead to an accident, a costly insurance claim, and potentially a conviction for driving without due care and attention. Swinton’s advice is to turn off all mobiles, smart phones and PDAs before driving any vehicle.

Steve Chelton, Insurer Development Manager at Swinton, said: “As technology advances, we are seeing more and more drivers using smart phones and other devices while behind the wheel – and this is leading to more accidents on our roads. Even in slow moving traffic, writing or reading a message is a major distraction. Our advice is simple – turn off any electronic equipment before getting into a car for a safer journey.”

The announcement follows a survey by car accessories chain Halfords that revealed that one in 20 drivers admitted to reading a post on social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, while behind the wheel. Soaring numbers of motorists have gone beyond phone calls and are now texting and even posting on social-networking sites while on the road, the survey of more than 2,000 car drivers showed.

On 27th February 2007, the law was updated and the penalty for using a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving was increased to GBP 60 and three penalty points.

About Swinton

— With 580 branches nationwide Swinton is the UK’s largest high street insurance retailer — Unlike many other companies in the financial services industry, Swinton is committed to keeping its branches open for business, and part of the community — Swinton provides a one-stop-shop for the insurance and related needs of its clients, offering home, car, caravan, business, holiday, motorbike and even classic car insurance — With a dedicated team of advisors on hand at every branch to search a panel of insurers to offer quality cover at competitive rates

Contacts: SKV Communications Anoushka Done, Anna Asamoah or Mairead Rodden 0161 838 7770 www.skvcommunications.co.uk

SOURCE: Swinton