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Texting causes one in 10 drivers to have near miss

TEXTING while driving has been identified as one of the most dangerous distractions for Irish motorists.

Sending or reading text messages has caused the most 'near misses' for drivers who were surveyed about activities that cause them to take their eyes off the road.

More than one in 10 motorists said that using mobile phones to send or receive texts had resulted in at least one 'near miss' with an accident narrowly avoided.

In a survey of Irish drivers commissioned by Continental Tyres, mobile phone texting was cited by just over 10pc of drivers as the number one activity that has caused the most 'near misses' on the road.

Other distracting activities that almost caused an accident included making or taking a phone call (7pc) and searching for music for the vehicle radio or sound system.

ACTIVITY

As the smartphone becomes more and more popular, more than 5pc of drivers admitted checking emails or the internet while driving was a reason for a near miss in the past.

Two out of every three drivers said that speaking on a phone or texting was an activity that has caused them to be distracted while driving. Eating or drinking while driving was a source of distraction for 44pc of drivers.

The search for the right music was highlighted as posing one of the biggest risks – 73pc of drivers said this was the most regular distracting activity they engaged in behind the wheel.

Women were identified as more likely to be distracted by using the mobile phone while driving – nearly 48pc of women admitting to tapping on their devices behind the wheel. One in three male drivers admitted that using the phone was their most distracting activity.

For men, eating/drinking and searching for music topped the list. However, twice as many women cited smoking or lighting cigarettes as a regular distraction while driving – 14pc of women compared to 7pc of men.

Tom Dennigan from Continental Tyres Ireland, said: "As a driver, paying attention to your surroundings is vital to ensure both your safety and the safety of other road users.

"In spite of all the safety campaigns targeting the dangers of mobile phone usage while driving, it was shocking to see it highlighted as the main reason for a 'near miss' by so many drivers.

"We would reiterate the Road Safety Authority message to drivers, it won't hurt you to put away the phone while you are behind the wheel, but using it just might."

CHILDREN

In response to a question in relation to distractions from passengers or other road users, cyclists were the biggest 'distraction' for drivers at 60pc, followed by children in the car (37pc), and pedestrians (40pc).

Other motorists were highlighted by one in four of drivers as key sources of distraction.

hnews@herald.ie


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