20 March 2014

More mobile phone use in city driving

#driverdistraction. Twice as many drivers in Dublin use their mobile phones while driving, compared to country drivers, according to observations carried out by the Road Safety Authority in 2012, writes Brian Byrne.

That was revealed in a presentation at today's Road Safety Conference on Driver Distraction today, by Velma Burns, Research Manager at the RSA.

In a new survey also revealed today, half of interviewees admitted to using their phone in some way while driving, while the ratio rose to three in four for males aged between 17-34.

The research shows that the main high level distractions today are mobile phones, children, and eating and drinking. Low level ones identified were distracting passengers, using the radio, and personal grooming.

Ms Burns reported that while the drivers who allowed themselves to be distracted were aware of the dangers, they found ways of justifying the behaviour. This seems to reflect today's busy lifestyle, with drivers feeling 'pressured' to let themselves be distracted.

Excuses included 'emergency', which might be as simple as being asked to buy a carton of milk on the way home. Others were 'addiction' to the phone, it's 'a work thing' and 'keeping the family schedule moving'.

A notion that people think 'I'm an experienced driver, so I can multitask. But other drivers shouldn't do it' was also found.