Driver distraction on the increase

Posted by: Cal on 28/08/2014

Category: General

No matter how up-to-date and well maintained your car tyres are, there are always going to be distractions that can increase the risk to yourself and to other road users.

With vehicles becoming smarter and technology proliferating all corners of our lives, these distractions become more tempting and the way we deal with them is likely going to decide the outcome.

This mantra was highlighted in a recent Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) survey where the majority (90 per cent) of respondents believe driver distractions are getting worse. While it might be obvious what the main cause of distraction is, there were some other surprising examples.

What causes distraction on our roads?

Although illegal to use while driving, mobile technology (39.7 per cent) was the main reason given for the increase in driver distraction. This would include attempting to connect a headset, turning the phone off while ringing and handing the phone to someone else to handle.

RACQ spokesperson, Lauren Ritchie, explained this statistic was concerning given the extensive education campaigns in the media.

"Hand-held mobile phone use is unsafe and illegal. If you must use your mobile and you don't have hands-free, it is imperative you pull over," she said.

"It's not worth risking your life or the lives of others to answer a phone call or read a text message while driving."

In second place distraction was in-car technology (23.2 per cent). This is an interesting area moving forward given the increasing amount of technology to help us inside the vehicle.

Items such as GPS and stereo stand out as obvious distractions, but this can also include electric windows and air conditioning. All these items take our focus away from the road and potentially into a dangerous situation.

According to RACQ, distractions cause around 25 per cent of all car crashes and those are ones that authorities are told about.

"We're also concerned that half of those surveyed admit to losing focus on the road while adjusting the car stereo, and 45 percent while eating and drinking," Ms Ritchie said.

Other responses given in the survey included being time poor and stressed (9.6 per cent), selfish or inconsiderate drivers (5.2 per cent) and speed limit changes/road works zones (4.9 per cent).

Distractions can be managed, so if you go to the effort to adjust your tyres to the correct tyre pressure or replace them regularly, you can also make the conscience choice to turn your phone off!