According to Road Safety NSW, simply taking your eyes off the road for more than two seconds doubles the risk of having a crash. There are a number of reasons why drivers may be inclined to take their eyes off the road with mobile phones being one of the most common reasons amongst the younger generation. Whether mobile phones are acting as a distraction for drivers who are texting, checking their notifications or taking a call, the consequences can be fatal for the driver, their passengers and other drivers on the road.
Research shows that drivers aged between 17-39 years have the greatest involvement in crashes where hand-held mobile phone use is a factor. Crash data from 2010 to 2014 reported 236 crashes in NSW where mobile phone use by drivers was identified as a contributing factor to the incident. This included seven fatal crashes and 116 injury crashes. These figures are considered to be under-reported due to the difficulty of finding direct evidence of mobile phone use at crash scenes. This suggests the problem could be much greater than what the statistics reflect.
So what can we do to minimise the risks associated with mobile phone usage on our roads? For corporations who are hiring staff to drive for work purposes, it can be as simple as implementing strict policies whereby the driver’s mobile phone is out of sight and out of reach. Drivers can ensure they are implementing low-risk driving techniques by also switching their phone to silent or do not disturb mode. Some vehicles now have the ability to pull through SMS messages or caller information to the car dashboard when someone is trying to contact the driver. By turning this capability off, you can minimise the risk of being distracted by the information incoming to your mobile phone. To learn more about low-risk driving techniques as well as CDTA low risk driving courses, click here.