Tue | Sep 26, 2017

UK research: Texting while driving puts people at greater risk than driving drunk

Published:Saturday | December 24, 2016 | 12:58 AM

THE VOICE (UK):
Texting while driving home for Christmas can put drivers at greater risk than if they were drunk, according to one the UK’s leading transport researchers.

Reaction times for text-drivers in emergencies often fall below those of drink drivers, said Professor Andrew Parkes, of Coventry University’s Centre for Mobility and Transport.

Prof Parkes believes a cultural shift needs to happen around fiddling with phones on the road because “drivers are thinking about their chances of getting away with it rather than the potential catastrophic consequences of their actions.”

He added: “A driver who texts and drives is around 13 times more likely to be involved in a collision, and their reaction times in emergency events are often longer than drivers intoxicated by alcohol. It's critical to raise awareness of these issues to the point where – like drinking and driving – texting behind the wheel is seen as equally bad, risky and socially unacceptable.

“Nowadays, people even struggle to remember the detail of a TV show if they're on a call or checking social media at the same time – if they're driving, this lack of awareness can be fatal.

“Many drivers think talking on a smartphone is no more distracting than talking to a passenger, and many believe they are capable of multitasking. The accident statistics show otherwise, with some estimates indicating that as many as 28 per cent of all accidents and fatalities are caused by drivers using phones.

It is a conscious choice by the driver to put themselves, their passengers and other road users at severe risk. Roads are hazardous places, but those using phones behind the wheel are making them much more dangerous for all of us.”