Updated: Apr 3
It takes a split-second lapse in concentration to cause an accident.
The average response time for a driver to respond and react to an unexpected situation is 1.5 seconds provided they are paying full attention to the road. Stopping distances vary with speed but, based on a speed of 60mph, a driver can be expected to take around 6 seconds to respond, react and stop. In terms of distances this equates to in distances at 60mph you will have travelled 4.5 car lengths by the time you react and respond and around 18 car lengths by the time you stop.
More recent research has shown that a driver’s response time doubles when using a mobile phone, this is more than the impairment caused by drink or drug driving. That is provided they even see the situation arising as the average time a driver takes their eye off the road whilst checking their phone is 4 seconds before looking up again. As you can tell from the figures set out above the power of those four seconds is significant when you consider that this is over half the time it would take you to stop if you were paying attention.
Statistics published by the RAC found that there were 22 fatal accident in 2015 and in the five years leading up to 2015, at least 2100 accidents were caused by driver’s using mobile phones. It is expected that the true extent of the number of accidents caused by mobile phone use is likely to be underreported due to mobile data not always being checked following an accident.
Harsher penalties have since been introduced for those found to be using their phone whilst driving namely an increase to six points and a £200 fine. Additionally, the court now have the power to impose a maximum fine of £1,000 for car drivers (increased to £2,500 for lorry and bus drivers). In addition, drivers found caught to be using their phone in the first two years of driving will lose their licence. Despite this, drivers are still more willing than ever to use their phones behind the wheel.
In a world where technology has allowed us access all day and all night, social media has become some kind of addiction and where the average number of phone checks a day is expected to be around 150 times it is easy to see how drivers may find it difficult to drag themselves away from their phones. However, those who check their phones whilst driving a four times more likely to be involved in an incident.
This is a terrifying statistic when you consider the damage and life changing injuries that can be caused by a split second lapse in concentration. So why not take away the temptation, when driving place your phone on silent, pop it in your bag or glove compartment so it is out of sight and you can be sure you won’t be tempted to have a quick look when something pops up.
If that isn’t enough, take a second to THINK, how would you feel if, as a result of checking your phone, you were responsible for causing an accident resulting in a fatality or changing another’s life due to causing a catastrophic injury?