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Distracted Driving a Common Cause of Road Traffic Accidents

Programming a sat-nav while driving is the most dangerous and deadly distraction for drivers, according to a recent study.

Sat-navs the Most Dangerous Distraction

The research was conducted by road safety charity IAM RoadSmart and Auto Express, and was carried out through a series of tests in a professional racing simulator. Drivers in the simulator were assessed to see how they coped with the most common distracting tasks on UK roads, while completing timed laps and braking at a specific point.

IAM RoadSmart has described the results as ‘shocking’, with a massive difference in performance between distractions.

Entering a postcode into a sat-nav app proved to be the worst, followed by sending a text message. Other tasks carried out included eating, drinking, making a phone call and talking to a passenger.

Talking to a Passenger the Least Distracting

The least distracting task for lap time was talking to a passenger, but it still ranked very poorly for the braking test.

“It was the least distracting of all in terms of lap times, but interestingly, both drivers failed to brake accurately at the target line,” explained IAM RoadSmart’s head of technical policy, Tim Shallcross. “Their ability to drive normally confirms the difference between the extra distraction of a phone conversation and the natural act of talking to a passenger, but still shows that any distraction reduces attention, and in an emergency, it might be critical.”

“These results highlight just how important it is that drivers give their full attention to the road ahead,” added Steve Fowler, Auto Express editor-in-chief. “We’ve seen the staggering numbers of people who are still using phones at the wheel and these tests show how dangerous they can be – whether it’s texting, calling or programming the sat-nav. More work needs to be done to target those who still think it’s acceptable to use a phone while driving.”

Distracted Driver Causes Fatal Injuries

The potentially tragic consequences of distracted driving were all too graphically demonstrated in a recent case where a female driver crashed into a stationary car while trying to send a text message on her phone.

The 53-year-old woman had been trying to send a birthday message to a friend when she hit the other car, killing the 84-year-old driver, the BBC reports. The pensioner had stopped to help his grandson, whose car had broken down. His wife, who was also in the car, sustained a broken pelvis and hip.

An investigator concluded that if the woman had not been distracted by the phone she would have had sufficient time to see the car and avoid it. She was sentenced to 27 years in prison and also disqualified from driving for ten years.

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If you have been injured in a road traffic accident and would like to find out more about claiming compensation, then contact our expert personal injury lawyers today. Out specialist solicitors can guide you through the process and help you obtain the compensation you are entitled to.

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