Public safety officials have, in recent months, stepped up their campaign against “distracted” driving, which usually focuses on using a cell phone behind the wheel, fiddling with a car's music system, eating or putting on makeup.
But Confused.com, a British website offering comparisons of insurance policies, has found some of the biggest distractions for drivers are sitting in the back seat.
In a recent survey, the site found two thirds of British motorists have been victims of unwanted attention from self-appointed backseat drivers, and almost one in four have been in an accident while dealing with the distractions of other passengers.
The company has placed a price tag on these distractions, estimating the accidents they cause cost the average motorist about £500, or $783 in repair bills.
The research also reveals that the worst backseat pests are bus drivers, train drivers and delivery men who obviously forget that they're off duty. On the other hand, teachers are the most patient of passengers and usually put up with the driver's bad habits.
Family members are the worst
Most respondents also confessed that they would rather travel with colleagues than loved ones. This is because partners are apparently the worst backseat drivers, with husbands and boyfriends disrupting the driver most often and 45 percent of them voicing their traffic-tips several times during the shortest of trips.
Women and the elderly are the most likely to be the victim of backseat distractions. Over two thirds of women, and a shocking 70 percent of drivers over the age of 55 find themselves on the receiving end of this bad etiquette, the researchers note.
"As motoring costs continue to rise at a meteoric rate, it's never been more important for drivers to keep their costs as low as possible,” said Gareth Kloet, Head of Car Insurance at Confused.com. "Our research shows that having other people in the car can distract us from the road, and lead to accidents which in turn increase the cost of our car insurance policies."