Thursday 18 January 2018

Eddie Cunningham: Why phone use at wheel is an accident waiting to happen

Around 20 per cent of motorists admitted that they texted while driving
Around 20 per cent of motorists admitted that they texted while driving

Talking Point Eddie Cunningham

Judging by the spate of emails to me on phone drivers, the recent IMWA forum on distracting technologies could not have come at a more appropriate time.

The nub of the keynote speech by Dr Natasha Merat was that we are being increasingly distracted by phones and gadgets.

She referred to a spate of studies which underlined how the risk of an accident increases substantially when a driver is not fully concentrating on the road.

It sounds basic common sense and I can hear you saying you don't need an expert to tell you that.

Maybe you don't, but I think lots of people need sharp reminders.

Dr Merat struck a chord without a doubt.

I know there are some cars I struggle with. They have dozens of buttons and alerts and beeps and 'OK' prompts that lure me into labyrinthine depths that I'll struggle with even more.

I know I am far from being a techno expert; by the same token I'm of average intelligence so I am reasonably typical.

Dr Merat quoted several studies which have shown there is a significant increase in the risk of an accident where drivers are distracted.

And it is so easy to be. Even a front-seat passenger prodding at a touchscreen can take your mind off driving for a lot longer than you think. I completely take Dr Merat's points.

Yet if one were to extrapolate her warnings on to what we all anecdotally see on our roads every day then we should be seeing much higher levels of accidents.

Thank God we're not, but hers is a chilling reminder of how so many are dicing with death or injury at the wheel.

Indo Motoring

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