Move Against Mobiles
by Henry Floyd |
posted 01 March 2017
If you find yourself continually finding other drivers on their mobiles whilst at the wheel, you may well agree with the findings of a recent survey conducted by Continental tyres.
The study of 1,000 UK motorists for Continental Tyres’ Vision Zero, a commitment to reduce road fatalities worldwide, revealed that 11.3 million road users have owned up to using a mobile phone illegally. This practice means that according to the survey, two-thirds of motorists believe the Government should introduce technology to disable certain phone functions while people are driving.
Continental Tyres’ safety expert Mark Griffiths said: “Our research reveals that drivers know that their use of phones is illegal, distracting and dangerous yet they cannot help themselves.” Having all vehicles fitted with some form of blocking device was considered to be a far more effective way of dealing with the problem that either harsher penalties or more education programmes.
“Nearly half told us they struggle to be digitally disconnected,” said Griffiths, “and 28 per cent felt that so many people now checked their mobile in traffic it had become normalised.” In fact, 46 per cent of drivers admitted to researchers that they think it is OK to look at their phone when stopped or in slow moving traffic.
Road safety and breakdown specialist GEM Motoring Assist is pleased that the Government has recognised the severity of this offence and taken action. From Wednesday 1 March, drivers caught using their mobile phones at the wheel will receive six penalty points and a £200 fine.
GEM road safety officer Neil Worth commented: “There is serious risk in the physical distraction of holding a phone while driving. But there is also the risk of the mental distraction every driver faces when trying to do something else other than drive. We all have 100% concentration available at any one time; anyone deliberately allowing some of that concentration to be directed at something other than the driving task is comprising safety.”
The Continental survey showed that 66 per cent of those interviewed think the Government should enforce a device that disables web-browsing, emails and the ability to send and receive texts for people on the move.
Professor John Groeger, a specialist in driver psychology and author of ‘Sharing the Driving’ for Continental Tyres said: “It is really interesting that motorists want an enforced solution rather than to curb their own behaviour – yet there is no such system currently being promoted in the UK.”
Even with the additional safety features being added to cars motorists believe the illegal use of phones when driving is decreasing road safety. Perhaps the increase in penalties from the beginning of March, may make at least some drivers think again before reaching for their mobiles.