Wednesday 28 June 2017

Block mobile phones in cars rather than hike penalties: new survey

Blocking mobile phones functions in a car is seen as a safe thing to do
Blocking mobile phones functions in a car is seen as a safe thing to do
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

Blocking a range of phone functions in cars to avert distraction and accidents would get sizeable support from drivers.

Nearly half (46pc) of those surveyed see it as the safe thing to do. And a quarter (26pc) regard it as preferable to increasing penalties for anyone caught phone-driving.

The survey of Irish drivers was carried out for Continental Tyres' Vision Zero initiative (which targets road-death cuts worldwide).

The Continental survey highlights how:

* 54pc of drivers regularly phone and drive.

* More than one-third (36pc) feel mobile phone use is 'normalised' because so many people are doing it.

* 23pc find it difficult to be 'disconnected' from their mobiles for any length of time.

* 62pc feel it is okay to use a phone in stopped or slow-moving traffic.

* Only 22pc believe it is illegal to phone on the move.

* Making/taking calls and texting top activities at the wheel (for the 64pc who admit doing it).

Smartphone popularity means nearly half (49pc) regularly access their social media profiles while driving.

Continental Tyres Ireland chief Tom Dennigan says: "Our research reveals that drivers know their use of phones is illegal, distracting and dangerous, yet it is clear many of them cannot help themselves.

"In addition to the need to improve motorists' behaviour, it is apparent there is a strong desire for technology to help deliver the solution and enhance road safety."

Prof John Groeger, driver psychology specialist, and author of 'Sharing the Driving' for Continental Tyres, says: "It is really interesting that motorists want an enforced solution rather than to curb their own behaviour - yet there is no such system currently available. It is imperative we find a way to resolve this as the 'switch cost' - the critical time it takes us to shift our concentration from reading a text to fully engaging in driving - is so important in reducing accidents."

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