Signed, sealed, delivered ... and damaged in 57 days
ALMOST A THIRD OF UK DRIVERS PRANG A NEW CAR WITHIN TWO MONTHS OF OWNERSHIP
If you’ve owned your shiny brand new car for 57 days — then prepare for a prang, is a message for British drivers.
Nearly a third (32 per cent) of vehicle owners are involved in a crash in their brand new pride and joy within just two months of driving it out of the showroom — clocking up a £402 million (NZ$847 million) repair bill nationally, new research revealed.
And most accidents involving new cars occur on the 57th day after registration on average, it said.
Overall, one in 10 of accidents over the past 12 months involved new cars — accounting for an estimated 196,000 minor and serious new car accidents.
The report by car-crash management firm Accident Exchange said: “When averaged out, accident prone buyers tended to prang their brand new pride and joy on the 57th day after the car was first registered.
“Putting those cars back on the road is estimated to have cost nearly £402 million in just 12 months.
“In fact, 32 per cent of all [new car] accidents happened within just two months of ownership.”
The crash statistics were recorded between March 2015 and the end of February 2016. Accident Exchange said with an estimated 2.2 million accidents — minor and serious — annually, about 196,000 2015-plate vehicles were affected.
“The average cost of accident repairs is £2050, meaning all [new car] crashes cost drivers and insurers £402 million.”
Intriguingly, up to 63 per cent of motorists involved in an accident will purchase a new car within six months, it says.
Crash experts said a combination of people being unfamiliar with much of the technology on new cars, time needed to get to grips with new lay-outs and often more powerful performance, and increasing cases of drivers — not necessarily the new owners — illegally using smart phones to text or message while at the wheel, all played a part in the new-car crash rates.
And with many cars getting bigger — especially with the growing trend SUVs — prangs can happen as unfamiliar drivers attempt to park them in spaces which are getting smaller.
An Accident Exchange spokesman said: “Early damage to newly registered vehicles can be a result of a number of factors.
“New cars are packed with technology, which can be distracting, while mobile phone use at the wheel continues to be a problem.
Illegally using smart phones to text or message while at the wheel can cause accidents.
“The more complex controls required to accommodate this new technology can be largely unfamiliar. And new cars can be more powerful, even though the engine size remains the same.”
He added: “The number of cars on the road is also a factor; each year more and more cars are registered and they are increasingly large in size making them more difficult to manoeuvre, especially into smaller car-parking spaces.”
Scott Hamilton-Cooper, director of operations at Accident Exchange said: “Any accident is a traumatic and emotional experience for the driver and passengers, but this increases for those driving brand new vehicles usually costing a lot of money.
“Buying a new car is a big deal. The old adage that it’s the second largest purchase most people will make after a home still rings true.
“Whenever a driver reports a crash to us, we make sure they are back on the road as swiftly as possible and their vehicle is repaired according to manufacturer approved guidelines,” said Hamilton-Cooper.
“The vehicle should always be returned to factory finish condition for safety reasons and because it is someone’s pride and joy.”