Tuesday, 29 September 2009

75% of crashes are caused by distracted drivers

Three out of four vehicle crashes are caused because the driver is distracted at the wheel, according to researchers. The study, by Heriot-Watt University academics, found texting behind the wheel or dealing with children were the two biggest causes of accidents.

Despite the penalties, the study showed more than 52% were prepared to admit using a mobile phone while driving, and 40% said they had written a text.

Technology was found to play a big role in accidents and near misses, with satellite navigation systems and MP3 players cited as major distractions for drivers.

Police said the research spells out exactly why it is important drivers minimise the distractions in the car. Ch Insp Bryan Rodgers, of Lothian and Borders Police, said failure to do so can have catastrophic consequences. "Nobody goes out intending to cause harm in these situations, but not focusing on your driving can mean that you change your family life forever, you change someone else's family life forever and even maybe face criminal charges or even imprisonment."

But don’t worry, most of the time you won’t be caught, and even if you are caught texting at the wheel you’ll only be fined £60 and get 3 points, which means you can do it four times in a year, and then again after the points have been cancelled!

And even in fatal crashes where cyclists have been killed, Scottish police have not a set procedure which requires them to check if a driver has been using a mobile phone, so even killers can get off with the excuse that it was just an accident.