Mike Stevens | Jun 9, 2010

New research has shown that many drivers are unperturbed by tougher penalties for mobile phone use while driving, with 24 percent of respondents in an NRMA Insurance survey admitting to texting and using the phone while at the wheel.

Surveying 500 NSW motorists, the results also found that 36 percent of respondents regularly consume fast food or hot drinks while driving and 37 percent argue with their passengers.

“The research also showed that six per cent of drivers shave while driving, pluck their eyebrows, brush their teeth and apply makeup. Surprisingly, male drivers appear to be vainer than females," NRMA Insurance spokesperson Emily Gatt said.

"Other drivers found it hard to be offline, confessing to using Facebook and Twitter while they’re behind the wheel."

A similar survey of 1014 people by Telstra earlier this year found that around 34 percent of motorists admitted to texting or calling while driving, with 17 to 24 year-olds the second most likely to offend.

Another NRMA study has found that one-in-four young motorists are cutting back on food and essentials to cover their fuel costs. A survey of 200 members found that most young drivers are unaware of the fuel pricing cycle, with only three percent taking advantage of the cheaper prices on Thursdays and Friday mornings.

"Three-in-ten young people report a weekly fuel bill is $41 to $60 - that's a lot of money when you're at university or just starting out in your first job," NRMA President Wendy Machin said.

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