Distracted while driving – how dangerous is it?
by Fiona Taylor
Most of us regularly undertake one of the most dangerous tasks that we could possible be involved in – driving!
Almost on a daily basis we get into and begin to operate a potentially lethal machine, we use it in an environment that can be unpredictable with members of the public surrounding us. It is imperative that we give this task our full concentration at all times
Driving is the most dangerous thing most of us do regularly: you’re operating a potentially lethal machine in an unpredictable public environment, so it requires full concentration at all times. Despite this, many drivers try to multitask – with mobile phones or other distractions such as food and drink – thereby dramatically increasing their risk of causing a crash. More than two in five crashes are thought to be caused, at least in part, by driver distraction.
Talking on a phone while driving, either hands-free or hand-held, your risk of causing an injury or death is four times as high compared to not being on the phone. If you use a phone to text, email or browse the internet then the risk is much higher still! In fact, the impact of using a phone on reaction times is on a par with drink driving. Yet a huge proportion of drivers put themselves and others in danger for the sake of a call or message, whether flouting the law by using a hand-held phone, or wrongly believing that hands-free is a safe alternative.
Don’t die to reply!
A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2006 of in-vehicle video footage estimated that 22% of crashes could be caused, at least in part, by some form of driver distraction. It also showed that drivers who perform a secondary task at the wheel are two to three times more likely to crash, other studies have found that more complex secondary tasks, like talking on a mobile phone or texting, increase crash risk even more.
Feed back to your drivers how important it is to be safe at the wheel, why not make it company policy that all mobile phones should be left in the boot of the vehicle, or at least they are put on silent away from where the driver can see them. If you need to know where your drivers are at all times then invest in a vehicle tracking system, you can get more details by using GPS than calling them and putting them and others in a potentially lethal situation.