Research by SmartDrive has shown that drivers using mobile phones or other in-vehicle gadgets are more likely to be involved in a road traffic incident. The study also shows that eating, drinking or smoking while driving should be avoided so that drivers can concentrate fully on the road ahead.
The study is based on SmartDrive Distracted Driver research and so far more than 34 million incidents have been recorded on in-vehicle video cameras by the SmartDrive Safety programme in the USA and UK.
The SmartDrive driver safety auditors ranked the most common distractions as:
1. Operating a hand-held device, for example, texting on a mobile phone, using a satnav.
2. Eating, drinking, smoking.
3. Talking on a mobile phone.
The research also showed that new drivers that made up just 5 per cent of the survey, accounted for 33 per cent of all recorded distracted driving incidents. These new drivers were responsible for 57 per cent of all mobile phone incidents and 47 per cent of all operating hand-held device incidents captured on video.
"Our research shows that distracted drivers can be dangerous drivers – the correlation is clear. The Department for Transport (DfT) Think! Road Safety campaign highlights that drivers’ reaction times are 30 per cent worse when using a hand-held mobile phone than for driving under the influence of alcohol at the legal limit. All UK drivers know that it is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone or similar device while driving. Our study supports the DfT’s own findings with clear video evidence,” says Steve Cowper, managing director, SmartDrive Systems Limited
"In our study, text messaging and talking on a mobile phone are clearly present in the majority of observed distracted-driving incidents involving a collision or near-collision. By tackling these types of distracted-driving behaviours early on, and training drivers to correct them before a serious event occurs, our SmartDrive Safety programme is having an immediate, positive impact on road safety," adds Cowper.