Good drivers keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road. Research shows that drivers who use cell phones are four times more likely to be in a collision than drivers who focus on the road. And when drivers take their eyes off the road for more than two seconds, their crash risk doubles.
Unfortunately, the smart phone has revolutionized the behavior on the road and its use at the wheel represents a real danger. The smart phone combines four distractions (hearing, visual, physical and cognitive) that can distract a driver.
A poll conducted in November 2012 on behalf of the Société d’assurance automobile du Québec reveals that:
- 99% of the Quebecers believe that writing or reading text messages while driving is somewhat or very dangerous;
- 18% of users of a cell phone drivers admit that they sometimes text while driving;
- 67% of drivers texting at the wheel say that thy cannot prevent them to read a text message, even if they are driving;
- 35% could not help but respond in the same situation.
According to a survey unveiled by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), in November 2010, texting while driving is the most important issue for Canadians in terms of road safety, surpassing even driving while impaired.
The law prohibits drivers to make a call, send a text message, type a message, dial a phone number and email using a handheld cell phone or other device communications and portable entertainment.
According to a study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute in 2010, texting while driving:
- Increased by 23 times the risk of accidents;
- Represents the same risk as driving after drinking four beers;
- Equivalent to cross a distance similar to a football field eyes closed à 70 km/h.
La Société d’assurance automobile du Québec ** launched awareness campaigns about the dangers of texting while driving, but a US study of the association of motorists, even though 94% of drivers know very well that it is dangerous texting while driving, one third of of them do it anyway.
The US administration of transport considers that texting while driving is as dangerous as driving while intoxicated by alcool.
To avoid the worst and support behavior change, here are some solutions.
- Turn off your cell phone before taking the road.
- Using mobile Driving Mode application to block calls and incoming text messages.
- Ask a passenger to make calls, read or write messages for you.
- If a cell is to be used, it is safe to stop in a place where parking is allowed.
- Use the technology « Bluetooth » of the vehicle.
- If, however, the temptation is too strong, before taking the road, why not drop his cell in a location out of reach, like the trunk of the car.
Marc Thompson is the General Manager of the Driving School Association of Quebec DSAQ).
* Centre patronal de santé et sécurité du travail du Québec
** Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec Direction des études et des stratégies en sécurité rout