Disturbing figures reveal half of Aussies are honking hoons

September 27, 2006

An alarming 53% of Australian motorists claim they will drive up to 20km over the speed limit if they are running late (or believe they can get away with it), with 15% claiming they only put the pedal to the metal in an emergency, according to a survey released by car insurance provider Budget Direct.

Throughout September this year, Budget Direct surveyed 5,000 Australian drivers, who were asked to confess driving habits which include speeding, an obsession with honking to hurry other drivers, or a tendency to illegally park in disabled parking spaces.

Contrary to the popular belief that males are more likely to speed than females, the results were startling, with 48% of males and 51% of females nationwide regularly clocking speeds above the legal limit. Western Australia was the worst offending state, with 58% of drivers admitting to speeding, although Queensland drivers were not far behind with 57%.

Thankfully, there are still 32% of Australian motorists who choose not to exceed the speed limit.

Managing Director & CEO of Budget Direct Michael Weston said he was not impressed with the survey's findings.

"It's astounding just how many Australian drivers are regularly speeding...and that's just based on the respondents that are admitting to it! From these findings it's certainly no surprise that in the last 12 months to April 2006, there were 1,648 killed in road accidents - this is four percent more than the previous year1," Mr Weston said.

"The sad fact is that unless Australian's learn to slow down, this toll will continue to escalate, particularly with the current school holiday period and the upcoming Christmas season," he said.

Budget Direct's survey found that Victorian drivers are less likely to speed with 49% clocking over the legal limit, however they are by far the most impatient state with 51% blowing their horns, on par with New South Wales. Not far behind are Queensland, South Australia and Western Australian drivers with 49% laying into their steering wheels in a fits of frustration.

As a whole, Australian drivers are quite restless at the wheel with 51% honking to hurry other drivers as opposed to the 49% that do not.

Males in particular are easily annoyed at the wheel, with 57% audibly displaying their aggravation when compared to females with 47%.

"When you look at the survey results, you can see how closely 'road rage' and speeding are linked. Australian drivers need to allow more time to get to their destinations, which will enable them to be more relaxed behind the wheel and in turn reduce speeding and the death toll in this country. Drivers need to stop being in such a hurry because it's costing lives," Mr Weston said.

Across the board, 82% of Australian drivers believe it is taboo to park in a disabled space while 11% admitted to doing it or having done it in the past (and felt bad about it), 7% claim they have or would only park there in an emergency. It appears male drivers are slightly more likely to park in these spaces with 13% admitting they do and have in contrast to 9% of females.

South Australians are extremely unimpressed with this act with 86% claiming they never park in disabled spaces as opposed to the mere 9% that do or have in the past.

"The strong negativity displayed by Australian drivers when it comes to parking in a disabled parking space was somewhat comforting. This is a very positive outcome as it shows Australian drivers can be incredibly considerate when they feel it's necessary," Mr Weston said.

Now, if drivers could just develop this attitude towards speeding, a lot of the problems on our roads would be solved," he added.

About Budget Direct

Budget Direct is part of Budget Holdings Limited. Internationally, the group administers more than 3 million policies and $1 billion in premium income. The Australian business currently issues more than 5,000 policies to Australians every week, offering customers security and long-term protection.

Auto & General Insurance Company Ltd underwrites Budget Direct's policies. Auto & General is also part of Budget Holdings Limited and is an Australian insurance company authorised by the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA). The company also holds an Australian Financial Services License.

For further information or interviews please contact Jonathan Kerr, Director, Marketing & Digital, Budget Direct (Auto & General) at 07 3377 8801 or mediaenquiries@budgetdirect.com.au

Budget Direct was established as an insurance provider in Australia in 2000.  It is part of the international BHL Group of companies headquartered in the British Isles. The group provides more than 6.8 million policies to insurance customers and administers $2 billion in premiums annually. Budget Direct offers Motor, Home & Contents, Health, Life and Travel Insurance as well as Roadside Assistance.