The not-so-smart driv­ers

Motorcycle Monthly - - News -

New re­search by the In­sti­tute of Ad­vanced Mo­torists (IAM) re­veals the shock­ing ex­tent to which driv­ers use their phones and tablets to take self­ies, make video calls and watch videos while driv­ing.

The find­ings come from re­search com­mis­sioned this month ex­clu­sively by the IAM, which asked 500 driv­ers how they use their smart­phones and tablets in the car.

Re­sults show that 9% of driv­ers ad­mit­ted to tak­ing a selfie while driv­ing ‘in the last month’. This in­creases to 15% of young driv­ers aged 18-24 and 19% of 25-35-year-olds. Women are less selfie-ob­sessed than men, with just 5% of women cit­ing that they have taken a selfie while driv­ing, com­pared to 12% of men.

Another 8% of driv­ers ad­mit­ted to driv­ing while us­ing a video-call­ing ap­pli­ca­tion such as FaceTime and Skype to make and re­ceive video calls, ris­ing to 16% among 18 to 24-year-olds.

An IAM study in 2012 showed that us­ing a smart­phone while driv­ing is more dan­ger­ous than driv­ing at the le­gal al­co­hol limit or when us­ing cannabis. Driv­ers have much slower re­ac­tion times, dif­fi­culty stay­ing in the same lane and are less able to adapt to even slowly chang­ing cir­cum­stances.

IAM’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, Sarah Sil­lars, said: “Ev­ery­one knows how dan­ger­ous us­ing a smart­phone or tablet is while driv­ing. That’s why it is shock­ing to see new trends such as tak­ing self­ies and mak­ing video calls be­com­ing com­mon prac­tice.

“Safe driv­ing is ev­ery­one’s re­spon­si­bil­ity and more must be done to catch driv­ers us­ing these de­vices dan­ger­ously by in­creas­ing the fines and points for smart­phone and tablet use at the wheel – there is sim­ply no ex­cuse.

“Cam­paigns must also be in­tro­duced that raise aware­ness of the preva­lence of the is­sue in so­ci­ety and make this be­hav­iour as so­cially un­ac­cept­able as drink-driv­ing,” she said.

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