Dis­tracted driv­ing sur­vey catches par­ents out

The Hastings Mail - - WHAT’S ON - ROB MAETZIG

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.

And fa­thers 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 con­nec­tiv­ity 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’’. Do as I say, not as I do: 31 per cent of par­ents have had an ac­ci­dent or a near miss or know some­one who has due to dis­tracted driv­ing.

Sta­tion­ary but not safe: 74 per cent of driv­ers have used their phone in traf­fic or at a stop­light, even though this is il­le­gal.

I have to take this: Peo­ple are most likely to make or re­ceive a call while driv­ing when it’s from fam­ily and friends (44 per cent) or work re­lated (28 per cent).

SPhone ad­dic­tion: Mo­bile phone us­age topped the list of in-car dis­trac­tions, fol­lowed by other pas­sen­gers and eat­ing or drink­ing.

Dis­tracted dads: Fa­thers were most likely to use their mo­bile phones while driv­ing to make or re­ceive a call or text (26 per cent), eat or drink some­thing (79 per cent) or be dis­tracted by an­other pas­sen­ger (57 per cent).

Ssssh back there: 53 per cent of mothers said they were dis­tracted by an­other pas­sen­ger and 69 per cent ad­mit­ted to eat­ing or drink­ing be­hind the wheel.

Can’t help my­self: 43 per cent of Aus­tralia and New Zealand driv­ers try to not use their phones while driv­ing, but end up do­ing so any­way.

More training please: 95 per cent of re­spon­dents said they have not re­ceived any dis­tracted driv­ing training, 71 per cent were in favour of it.

Snap happy: 16 per cent of mil­len­ni­als have ei­ther taken a photo or selfie while driv­ing. The key rea­son? Bore­dom.

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.

Ford has re­cently launched a pub­lic aware­ness cam­paign to

ed­u­cate its Asia Pacific em­ploy­ees, cus­tomers and the gen­eral pub­lic about the dan­gers of dis­tracted driv­ing.

‘‘To­day, peo­ple want to stay con­nected to fam­ily, friends and col­leagues, even while they’re com­mut­ing,’’ said Williams. ‘‘That’s where tech­nol­ogy can help re­duce driver dis­trac­tions and why Ford pro­motes re­spon­si­ble driv­ing habits to keep the roads safer for ev­ery­one.’’

Oh the dis­trac­tions – a new sur­vey shows lots of mo­torists still drink and use their cell­phones while driv­ing.

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