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Anti 4x4 research 'flimsy'

Four-wheel drive vehicles have been 'blasted' by a weak piece of research', according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Speaking out against an Imperial College report, published in the British Medical Journal, based on observations of driver habits at only three points in central London, the SMMT said this is just the latest in a line of poorly-researched reports, worryingly reproduced by in the media as fact.

“Our concern is that conclusions will be taken as read, simply because this is the British Medical Journal and the report has therefore generated media interest”, said SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan.

“While we welcome the fact researchers have acknowledged 4x4s/SUVs as one of the safest cars for occupants, they seem to have made a huge leap of logic about drivers. Surely it can't be good science to suggest that the safety benefits of driving a 4x4 makes people more complacent and therefore more likely to use their mobile phone illegally while driving?”

In January this year, SMMT published an industry guide to safer driving called 'Drive Green, Drive Safely'. This encourages drivers of all types of vehicle to adhere to the rules of the road, by following a series of simple reminders, tips and hints.

SMMT will forward copies of the free guide to the publishers of the Imperial College research for distribution to doctors' surgeries around the UK. The booklet has already been widely distributed to safety and government bodies in Britain and is also free to download as a pdf from the SMMT website.

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