According to a latest survey, nearly four out of 10 motorists admit that they are being distracted by calls, texts and other social media applications on their mobile phones.
A driver’s mobile phone is likely to ring or beep at least once during an average 23-minute journey, with 53% admitting to taking their eyes off the road to check who a call is from, and 45% admitting checking who has sent them a text.
Research by RAC: Conducted in September with 1,009 British motorists, the survey also found 21% of drivers admit to using other social media and communications features of web-enabled mobile phones. Among these, the most popular activity was using email, ahead of checking Google Maps, listening to music, and even viewing photos and using social networking site Facebook. The figures looked at the behaviour of people while they were either driving, or stationary in the car – for example at traffic lights or in heavy traffic – with the engine running.
Mobile Usage Causing Road Accidents: They follow the organisation’s Report on Motoring 2010, which found a significant rise in the proportion of people admitting to taking a call without using a hands-free kit. Some 28% admitting fielding a call – up from 8% the previous year – while those admitting to sending texts rose from 11% to 31%. And while almost half of drivers polled claimed that that receiving calls or sending texts does not distract them, the RAC is highlighting Department for Transport figures for 2009 which found that 509 people were injured in accidents caused by drivers using a mobile phone, with 13% of this number being seriously injured or killed. RAC motoring strategist Adrian Tink said that many drivers seemed not to be aware that using a mobile phone in a vehicle with the engine running – even if it is stationary – is an offence.
Law to Be Enforced Strictly: The organisation is now calling for existing laws to be strictly enforced. “It’s extremely concerning that the use of mobile phones for texting and calling has risen in the past year,” Tink added. “It is also worrying that people are admitting to using their mobile phone for a whole host of social media applications while driving. “Taking your eye off the road, just for a second, to read an alert or check who a call came from can have potentially fatal results.”