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Drivers keep eyes off road for 10pc of journey

Motorists typically have their eyes off the road for a tenth of the time they are driving, a study has shown.

For 10pc of their journey they are eating, reaching for the phone, texting or engaged in other activities that cause concentration to wander from what is happening beyond the screen.

Predictably, teenagers who had recently passed their test were most likely to crash or experience a near-miss as a result of being distracted, according to US researchers.

But even for experienced motorists, the risk of crashing or narrowly avoiding a collision more than doubled if they tried to "dial-and-drive".

DANGEROUS

Co-author Dr Bruce Simons-Morton, from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, Maryland, said: "Anything that takes a driver's eyes off the road can be dangerous.

"But our study shows these distracting practices are especially risky for novice drivers, who haven't developed sound safety judgment behind the wheel."

To carry out the study, the researchers analysed video footage from cameras installed in the cars of 150 drivers.

About a quarter were novices who had obtained their licences no more than three weeks earlier. The rest had, on average, 20 years of motoring experience and ranged in age from 18 to 72.

hnews@herald.ie


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