Personal Finance

Which is the Worst Area in England for Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is a contributing factor in nearly 5,000 reported road traffic accidents each year in England. To see which areas of England have the best and worst records for distracted driving, we gathered data from Transport for London on reported accidents where distracted driving, including mobile phone use, was a factor. See how your local authority and region compare.

Worst Areas for Distracted Driving Accidents


1. Westminster

15.9 Distracted Driving Accidents per 100,000 Residents

2 More Distracted Driving Accidents in 2017 than 2016


The streets of Westminster are very busy, with both local residents and others filling the roads. In 2017, 39 distracted driving accidents were reported, yielding a rate of 15.9 accidents per 100,000 residents. There was a slight uptick in distracted driver accidents in 2017, up two from 37 in 2016.

2. North Yorkshire

15.6 Distracted Driving Accidents per 100,000 Residents

18 Fewer Distracted Driving Accidents in 2017 than 2016


Despite finishing 2nd worst in England for 2017 in terms of distracted driver accidents (and the worst amongst large local authorities), North Yorkshire had far fewer of these types of accidents in 2017 than in 2016. In fact, 2017 saw a 16% decrease in accidents where distraction was a contributory factor. (For 2016 the area ranked as the most dangerous in England with 18.5 distracted driver accidents per 100,000 residents.)

3. Kensington & Chelsea

15.3 Distracted Driving Accidents per 100,000 Residents

14 More Distracted Driving Accidents in 2017 than 2016


The drivers of Kensington & Chelsea were noticeably more distracted in 2017, causing an additional 14 accidents than in 2016. In total, 24 accidents in this Royal Borough were attributed to a distracted driver in 2017.

4. Central Bedfordshire

15.0 Distracted Driving Accidents per 100,000 Residents

15 More Distracted Driving Accidents in 2017 than 2016


Central Bedfordshire posted the worst results of mid-size local authorities, with a rate of 15 distracted driving accidents per 100,000 residents. This is another area which had a noticeable increase from the prior year; in 2016 Central Beds only recorded accidents due to distracted drivers at a rate of 9.6 per 100,000 residents. In total, Central Bedfordshire saw a 56% increase in these types of accidents year over year.

5. Lincolnshire

14.4 Distracted Driving Accidents per 100,000 Residents

34 More Distracted Driving Accidents in 2017 than 2016


Lincolnshire is another local authority that experienced a rise in accidents due to distracted drivers in 2017. For the year, 108 accidents were reported with distraction listed as a factor, up 34% from 74 accidents in 2016. As a result, Lincs was the 5th worst in England and the 2nd worst amongst large local authorities with more than 500,000 residents in 2017.

Table showing the worst local authorities in England for distracted driving

Safest Areas for Distracted Driving Accidents

Liverpool topped the charts as the safest area with the lowest Distracted Driving Accident rate, at 1.0 accidents per 100,000 residents. While the area had 5 accidents in which distracted driving was a factor, when you take into account the larger population Liverpool posted the safest result in England.

Hartlepool notably reported only 1 accident due to distraction in 2017, the same as in 2016. As a result, Hartlepool's Distracted Driving Accident rate was only 1.1 per 100,000 residents making it the second safest local authority in England and the safest amongst smaller local authorities.

Table showing the best local authorities in England for distracted driving

Distracted Driving Accidents by Region

The North East was by far the safest region in England for distracted driving, with just 3.0 accidents per 100,000 residents. In fact, the region became even safer in 2017, with the actual number of reported accidents in which distracted driving was a factor dropping from down from 111 in 2016 to 80 in 2017. The second safest region, the North West, had a rate 1.7X higher than the North East—5.2 distracted driving accidents per 100,000 residents.

The worst region was the South East, where a whopping 9.6 distracted driving accidents were reported per 100,000 residents—3.2X the rate in the North East.

Table showing the safest local authorities in England for distracted driving

Areas with the Biggest Change in Distracted Driving Accidents

While 78 local authorities saw a drop in distracted driving-related accidents in 2017 from 2016, 67 reported an increase in accidents in which the driver was distracted by their mobile phone or something else in their car or outside of their car. Calderdale and Thurrock has the biggest increases, of 267% and 200%, respectively.

Table showing the local authorities in England with the largest increases in distracted driving 2016 to 2017

Complete List of Local Authorities in England and Their Distracted Driving Rankings

RankLocal AuthorityPopulation (thousands)Distracted Driving Accident Rate per 100,000 Residents% Change from 2016 to 2017
1Liverpool491.61.0-75%
2Hartlepool92.91.10%
3St. Helens1791.1-50%
4Stoke-on-Trent254.61.2-79%
5Sunderland277.51.4-67%
6Southend-on-Sea181.81.7-25%
7Essex1468.81.7-4%
8Thurrock170.31.8200%
9Kirklees437.41.8-38%
10Dudley318.21.9-63%
11South Tyneside149.32.0-50%
12Knowsley148.42.0-25%
13Wirral322.42.240%
14Coventry359.92.2-47%
15Salford250.72.4-14%
16North Tyneside204.12.4-62%
17Derbyshire789.22.5-43%
18County Durham523.52.740%
19Newcastle upon Tyne295.62.7-56%
20Rochdale217.22.8-14%
21Solihull213.12.8-40%
22Darlington106.32.8-40%
23Northumberland317.42.8-31%
24Sefton274.92.914%
25Wakefield338.93.00%
26Stockport2913.150%
27Tameside223.73.175%
28Halton127.53.1-56%
29Leicester353.13.4-48%
30Derby257.63.5-36%
31Gloucestershire627.63.5-41%
32Bournemouth195.43.60%
33Warrington2103.814%
34Merton207.93.8-11%
35Gateshead203.13.914%
36Wigan324.44.086%
37Bracknell Forest120.64.1-71%
38Rotherham262.94.2-45%
39Bolton284.74.2100%
40Trafford235.64.211%
41Staffordshire868.44.3-18%
42Reading164.14.3-65%
43Middlesbrough140.64.3-54%
44Walsall280.54.3-29%
45South Gloucestershire279.24.3-20%
46Poole151.24.617%
47Leeds786.24.748%
48Birmingham1137.84.7-25%
49Manchester547.74.7189%
50Sandwell325.14.914%
51Barnsley243.74.9-54%
52Bristol, City of461.25.0-12%
53West Berkshire159.25.0-60%
54Calderdale209.85.2267%
55Sheffield578.15.4-3%
56Richmond upon Thames196.95.657%
57Stockton-on-Tees196.85.683%
58Bradford533.95.643%
59Bury1895.8-15%
60Redcar and Cleveland135.55.914%
61Oldham233.76.0180%
62Dorset424.26.1-33%
63Wolverhampton259.56.278%
64Redbridge305.26.2-21%
65Southampton252.46.378%
66Bath and North East Somerset188.66.471%
67Leicestershire685.26.6-32%
68Wokingham164.56.7-31%
69Milton Keynes269.16.7-42%
70Blackburn with Darwen148.56.7-38%
71Cornwall558.96.8-21%
72Harrow249.86.821%
73Telford and Wrekin174.96.920%
74Cheshire East378.26.9-26%
75Northamptonshire738.96.9-4%
76Peterborough198.77.08%
77Nottingham327.27.3-4%
78Herefordshire, County of190.47.4-50%
79Torbay1357.4-38%
80Havering256.47.4-5%
81Tower Hamlets308.67.5109%
82Portsmouth214.67.560%
83West Sussex853.57.5-28%
84North East Lincolnshire159.77.5-14%
85Suffolk754.67.66%
86Kent1552.77.6-17%
87Lancashire1198.27.7-11%
88Rutland38.97.7-50%
89Somerset554.77.88%
90Sutton203.97.823%
91Lewisham303.17.950%
92Brighton and Hove289.67.90%
93Newham350.18.065%
94Barking and Dagenham212.18.0-37%
95Enfield335.68.035%
96Islington2368.112%
97Bexley247.58.111%
98Worcestershire586.28.2-4%
99Shropshire315.48.2-24%
100Croydon386.78.333%
101Kingston upon Thames176.38.515%
102Medway279.28.626%
103Wandsworth3248.633%
104Doncaster307.98.8-10%
105Hillingdon304.48.9-4%
106Cheshire West and Chester336.88.915%
107Barnet389.89.00%
108Hertfordshire1185.39.2-30%
109Lambeth325.89.2-21%
110North Somerset213.49.454%
111Waltham Forest276.99.4-10%
112East Riding of Yorkshire338.39.510%
113Hampshire1371.59.512%
114Swindon220.19.5-5%
115Kingston upon Hull, City of260.69.614%
116Bromley330.99.7-16%
117Bedford170.810.06%
118Windsor and Maidenhead150.110.0-32%
119Cumbria49810.0-22%
120Hackney277.810.1180%
121Greenwich283.410.221%
122Brent328.510.4-13%
123Camden254.210.659%
124East Sussex553.611.2-11%
125Haringey27511.311%
126Oxfordshire681.311.3-34%
127Hounslow270.411.5-9%
128Luton21811.532%
129York208.211.526%
130Devon783.911.65%
131Plymouth263.311.815%
132Southwark315.812.027%
133Hammersmith and Fulham181.712.157%
134North Lincolnshire171.312.3-16%
135Cambridgeshire647.912.338%
136Warwickshire560.812.5-16%
137Norfolk897.112.640%
138Nottinghamshire816.212.728%
139Isle of Wight140.612.8-10%
140Wiltshire495.513.13%
141Ealing345.713.328%
142Buckinghamshire537.213.4-26%
143Surrey1187.513.71%
144Slough148.814.1-13%
145Blackpool139.514.3-5%
146Lincolnshire74914.446%
147Central Bedfordshire280.615.056%
148Kensington and Chelsea156.515.3140%
149North Yorkshire610.815.6-16%
150Westminster245.415.95%

Depending on where you live, the cost of your car insurance may be vary due to an insurer's experience with distracted drivers in your area. For instance, an area in which an insurer has experienced higher accident claims might tend to be costlier for car owners. It's always best to check a number of prices before you buy. If you're not sure where to start, check our article on good, cheap car insurance companies.

Methodology

Even drivers who stay within the speed limit, obey traffic signs and don't drive under the influence can pose a danger to other drivers if they become distracted. To see how areas of England compare in terms of distracted drivers, we gathered data from Transport for London on reported accidents and contributory factors. From this data we took the number of accidents in each local authority in which three types of driver distraction were a factor: driver using mobile phone, distraction in vehicle and distraction outside vehicle.

Dividing the number of accidents in which distraction was a factor by the population in each local authority, from the Office of National Statistics, gave us a Distracted Driver Accident rate, which we represented per 100,000 residents.

We excluded data from the Isles of Scilly and City of London because they were not comparable situations and we felt the data would have skewed the results inappropriately. While the Isles of Scilly reported no accidents in 2017, SMMT reported that only 582 cars are registered in the Isles of Scilly—too few to be statistically significant. Similarly, City of London was excluded because it is a commercial area with so few residents given the amount of traffic that flows through the area.

Sources

Erin Yurday

Erin Yurday is the CEO, Co-founder and Editor of NimbleFins. Prior to NimbleFins, she worked as an investment professional and as the finance expert in Stanford University's Graduate School of Business case writing team. Read more on LinkedIn.

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