Par­ents ad­mit to dis­tracted driv­ing

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - AUTOZONE -

A new sur­vey shows that par­ents are the most dis­tracted driv­ers on our roads.

In the Ford Mo­tor Com­pany sur­vey of driv­ers in New Zealand and Aus­tralia, 31 per cent of par­ents re­ported ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a dis­tracted driv­ing in­ci­dent com­pared to 17 per cent of peo­ple with­out chil­dren.

Fa­thers, it seems, are most at fault. More than a quar­ter of them re­ported they were most likely to use their mo­bile phones while driv­ing to make or re­ceive a call or text with­out a hands-free sys­tem; 79 per cent said they eat or drink while driv­ing; and 57 per cent said they would be dis­tracted by an­other pas­sen­ger.

The sur­vey was con­ducted to pro­vide data to help fur­ther un­der­stand dis­tracted driv­ing be­hav­iour and at­ti­tudes.

‘‘Ford is com­mit­ted to help­ing raise aware­ness of road safety and ed­u­cat­ing driv­ers on safe driv­ing prac­tices,’’ said Cyn­thia Wil­liams, direc­tor, Sus­tain­abil­ity, En­vi­ron­ment and Safety En­gi­neer­ing, Ford Asia Pa­cific.

‘‘Phones are a great dis­trac­tion nor­mally, but be­hind the wheel they can be life threat­en­ing.’’

Ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion, more than 1.25 mil­lion peo­ple die each year as a re­sult of road traf­fic crashes and be­tween 20 and 50 mil­lion more peo­ple suf­fer non-fa­tal in­juries.

Driv­ers us­ing mo­bile phones are four times more likely to be in­volved in a crash than driv­ers not us­ing a mo­bile phone.

Us­ing a phone while driv­ing slows re­ac­tion times (notably brak­ing re­ac­tion time, but also re­ac­tion to traf­fic sig­nals), makes it dif­fi­cult to keep in the cor­rect lane, and to keep the cor­rect fol­low­ing dis­tances. Send­ing a text mes­sage takes about 10 sec­onds, which is the equiv­a­lent to 280 me­tres on a high­way when a car is go­ing 100kmh.

Not sur­pris­ingly, across all groups of re­spon­dents in the sur­vey, mo­bile phones topped the list of in-car dis­trac­tions, fol­lowed by other pas­sen­gers, and eat­ing or drink­ing. More than 43 per cent of Aus­tralia and New Zealand driv­ers say they try not to use their phones while driv­ing, but end up do­ing so any­way.

Of the re­spon­dents who said they use their phone while driv­ing, the most pop­u­lar rea­sons were be­ing stuck in traf­fic or at a stop­light (74 per cent), tak­ing calls from friends or fam­ily (44 per cent) and an­swer­ing work calls or emails (28 per cent). Bore­dom is also a key rea­son, with 22 per cent of re­spon­dents ad­mit­ting to us­ing their phones while driv­ing for no rea­son other than they had ‘‘noth­ing bet­ter to do’’.

Fast-mov­ing traf­fic and see­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer (both 69 per cent) are the top sce­nar­ios when peo­ple said they would never use their phone while driv­ing. Wor­ry­ingly, these out­weighed the safety of others, with just 49 per cent say­ing they wouldn’t use their phone when trav­el­ling with a baby or child and only 21 per cent when they were driv­ing with their spouse in the car.

Us­ing mo­bile phones and consuming food or drinks while driv­ing are dan­ger­ous dis­trac­tions.

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