Sunday, 11 December 2016

Why Using a Phone While Driving Is As Bad As Drink Driving

by Rebecca Pascoe

In an age in which mobile phones are constantly in use, it is becoming harder to separate technology from our day to day lives. The majority of people have a smartphone and when this is constantly buzzing it can be distracting and hard to ignore. Perhaps this is why the number of road accidents, including mobile phones, is on the rise.

Since 2005, more than 200 people have been killed in England and Wales in accidents involving mobile phones. Yet people still decide to use their phones while driving, despite being aware of the possible consequences. When travelling at 50 mph, your car travels 45 metres in 2 seconds. Any hazard could happen in front of you in this time, meaning by the time you look up it could be too late to stop. Therefore, we need to think to ourselves: is replying to that text worth a life?

Although the penalties for this offence are increasing, with the punishment now being six points on your licence and a fine, is this enough for an activity that can cost multiple lives within seconds? You only need to read the news to see the devastation that mobiles can cause on the road, yet it still seems as if the message is not being received by thousands of drivers. 6 points in the first 2 years is enough to cost a new driver their licence and still a Brake survey found that 19% of young drivers admit to texting at the wheel at least once a month, compared with 11% of older drivers taking the risk. American research has revealed that 80% of young drivers make or receive phone calls while driving and that 72% text.

These levels are unacceptable and something needs to be done to make mobile phone use at the wheel as frowned upon as driving under the influence. I believe that tougher penalties should be put in place to deter all drivers from distraction that could ruin the lives of others. All people who use the road have a responsibility towards the other users to be a safe and sensible driver, and if we can significantly cut the number of people who think phone use on the road is acceptable, it could be possible to begin to reduce the number of road accidents that occur daily. So, next time you are driving and hear your phone go off, do the sensible thing and wait until you get home to view it. The risk isn't worth it.

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