Have you noticed a growing trend for people using their mobile phones whilst driving? The parrot depicts the person who uses their mobile at the wheel.
A lot of research shows that using a hand-held, or hands-free, mobile phone while driving is a significant distraction, and greatly increases the risk of the driver crashing. However, you may have heard that recent research carried out in the US has brought this widely accepted belief into some doubt. The research team reportedly found no direct correlation between the number of drivers speaking on phones whilst driving, and the number of accidents recorded.
However, and it is a BIG however, there are some major caveats to their findings.
The study only looked at data from a specific timeslot; after 9pm during the week during 2002 and 2005.
In addition, Dr Vikram Pathania said, "We were only looking at talking, not texting or internet use. And it may be that the traffic conditions on the road at that time [9pm] are such that moderate use of cellphones does not present a hazard."
Dr Pathania also suggested that further reserach is necessary to look at specific demographic groups; "It may look different if you focus on young males or new drivers.
The THINK website still supports the large volume of historical research that suggests:
Drivers who use a mobile phone whether hand-held or hands-free:
■ are four times more likely to crash, injuring or killing themselves and/or other people.
■ are much less aware of what’s happening on the road around them.
■ fail to see road signs.
■ fail to maintain proper lane position and steady speed.
■ are more likely to ‘tailgate’ the vehicle in front.
■ react more slowly and take longer to brake.
■ are more likely to enter unsafe gaps in traffic.
■ feel more stressed and frustrated.
■ New changes to existing fixed penalty levels, including using a mobile phone at the wheel, came into effect in August 2013. If you are caught it’s a £100 fine and three points and if you are caught twice you will lose your licence.
■ if you cause an accident and kill someone you are likely to go to prison.
■ Police will check phone records when investigating a fatal collision or serious injury.
For passengers It is also important to let them know that it is an offence to “cause or permit” a driver to use a
hand-held mobile phone while driving.
With the rapid technological developments in the world of mobile phones, the temptation of using it for the simple act of speaking is being replaced by the alternative draw to quickly use the device for texting, social netwokring etc. We therefore need to continue to get the message across to our new drivers - Be really Smart and don't use your phone whilst driving!