Britain Hit By 'Dent & Run' Drivers

'Fender Bender' collisions cost £5 billion

British motorists have shelled out over £5 billion to repair car damage caused by dishonest drivers who 'dent and run', a survey by eBayMotors.co.uk reveals today.

Known as 'Fender Bender' crimes in the US, the problem is escalating in Britain with a staggering 64% (22 million) of innocent motorists returning to their cars to find damage done, but no note left.

The eBay Motors study found that the average driver has shelled out almost £340 to repair the resulting damage. It ranges from minor dents, nicks and scratches to the more serious cases of broken tail lights, bumpers and smashed wing mirrors.

Sports car and MPV/4X4 drivers are the hardest hit by 'dent and run', each spending over £700 and £450 on repairs respectively.

The study also revealed:

  • Half the drivers (50.2%) polled admitted they would 'dent & run'
  • Only 2% of drivers who witnessed a 'dent & run' crime would physically intervene to collar the culprit face to face and insist they left their name and reg details. but 56% of us would secretly take note of the culprit's details and leave a note on the windscreen of the damaged car
  • Women appear to be more skilled drivers than men. 17% of men caused damage to another car while reversing and squeezing into a parking space compared to only 10% of women.
Most popular prangs

The most common 'dent and run' incident is scratching paintwork with a car door with over two thirds of drivers saying they wouldn't bother to leave a note if they caused this sort of damage.

Top five UK 'dent & run' crimes
1. Paintwork scratches (68%) 2. Wing mirror damage (61%) 3. Bumper dents caused by bad reversing (56%) 4. Smashed headlights (33%) 5. Damaged bodywork (33%)

Londoners are the least likely to confess to their crimes - they're twice as likely to NEVER leave their contact details after a minor bump or scratch compared to the national average.

Top five reasons to 'dent & run'

How do 'dent & run' drivers justify their crime? The study found that the excuses ranged from laziness to sheer sneakiness.

  • The damage could have been there already 46%
  • The other driver was partly responsible (e.g. he blocked me in) 37%
  • No witnesses saw me do it 19%
  • I was in a hurry and had no pen 12%
  • I was worried about my no claims bonus 8%

Motoring expert Mike Brewer claims the increase in 'dent & run' collisions are part of a wider increase in minor accidents and prangs across the UK.

"It seems that a short stay in a British car park can now leave you with a dent in your bank balance as well as your paintwork. Three quarters (74%) of us have been on the receiving end of some type of damage in a car park and 38% on the high street, yet despite this the research shows we're taking them less seriously than ever."

Richard Kanareck from eBaymotors.co.uk, the UK's biggest online forecourt, comments: "Even the most careful drivers make mistakes. When it comes to trading a car though, it's important there aren't any hidden surprises for the buyer or seller, especially as more and more sales happen online.

"Our advice is to view as many photos of a potential purchase as possible and don't be afraid to ask questions about the car's accident history before you bid."

Other highlights from eBay Motor's Fender Bender study
  • 51% of British drivers have scratched another car's paintwork
  • 'Chelsea Tractor' 4 x 4 drivers are the least skilled drivers, their bulk causing damage while reversing (21%) and opening car doors (22%). This compares to 10% of estate owners who damage while reversing and opening car doors (12%)
  • Londoners have the most trouble parking with 30% of drivers in the metropolis having damaged another car while parking, 10% more than the national average
7 November 2006 Staff
 

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