Text and driving

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Text and driving

Post by Lily-Anne on Thu Sep 29, 2011 3:06 pm

A new study has highlighted, what has been perceived a risk amongst driver trainers for some time. Almost 3 in ten drivers text or review social net working sites whilst driving.

Despite the real risk of a minor accident through to a fatal one, text and drive is on the increase. Death from distracted driving is on the increase in the US and this provokes concern that our addiction to surfing the web and checking emails will cause a rise here in the UK.

Texting distracts from driving cognitively, physically and visually. But increasingly people are using their phones to do much more than make calls and send SMS messages: responding to emails, social networking, inputting navigational data or using other mobile phone applications.

Research into the impact of sending or receiving text messages among young drivers found the amount of time drivers spent with their eyes off the road increased by up to 400%. Drivers made 28% more lane excursions and 140% more incorrect lane changes [6]. Research using a driver simulator to explore risks drivers face when using phones for emailing found a heightened crash risk [7]. In a large-scale study of commercial drivers, which monitored the impact of them texting at the wheel, their crash risk increased to 23 times that of a driver paying full attention [8]. Studies looking at the impact of talking on your mobile at the wheel have found crash risk is quadrupled, whether you're on a hand-held or hands-free phone [9].

It is illegal to drive a vehicle or ride a motorcycle while using a hand-held mobile phone, smartphone or PDA. It is illegal to use any kind of electronic device to send or receive spoken or written messages or still or moving images or access the internet. This includes when stopped at traffic lights or queued in traffic.

Drivers who are caught will received a fixed penalty notice of £60 and three points on their licence. In May 2011 the government announced this fine is due to increase to £80 - £100. In some cases drivers will have to go to court and could face disqualification and a maximum fine of £1,000. But it could be much worse. Using a phone at the wheel can and does lead to devastating crashes. If you kill someone while using a phone you could face up to 14 years in prison for causing death by dangerous driving, as well as the knowledge that someone died because of your decision to pick up your phone at the wheel.

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