Fleet managers are being warned of the increased likelihood of distracted driving when drivers get behind the wheel again when the coronavirus pandemic lockdown eases.
GEM Motoring Assist says research has shown distracted drivers have a tendency to swerve between lanes, brake inappropriately, choose inappropriate speeds and not react to hazards as early as those paying full attention.
During an online seminar published by GEM Motoring Assist and Westcotec, Chris Spinks, managing director of Westcotec, said people have all relied on digital communications during lockdown, and warns many drivers are likely to find it hard to leave their devices alone once restrictions are eased and they can get behind the wheel again.
He said: “There will be a lot of people who haven’t been driving for weeks.
“We have all come to rely on digital technology taking the place of most face-to-face contact.
“That’s why we are concerned that this will become a new norm and that too many drivers will ignore the distraction risks of using their devices when they get back behind the wheel.”
Neil Worth, road safety officer at GEM, added: We tend to be over-optimistic about our level of driving skill, at the same time as telling ourselves that bad things happen to other people – and that can be a lethal combination.
“That’s why we are urging everyone – on every journey – to take personal responsibility for safety, banish distractions and focus solely on the task of driving.”
Also in the 25-minute seminar, were Liz Johnson, road safety officer for Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police, with the discussion facilitated by Dr Leanne Savigar-Shaw of Staffordshire University.