Using a Smartphone While Driving Can Be More Dangerous than Drink Driving, or Being High on Drugs!
Wow, how frightening is that? Many of us have these posh phones nowadays that let us send and receive e-mails, check out E-Bay and look at our accounts on Twitter and Facebook.
Social networking sites such as Facebook offer the opportunity for instant contact with your friends or ‘virtual’ friends instantly, no matter where in the world they may be and new research suggests that around 8% of all drivers have admitted to using their smartphones for e-mail or social networking while driving. Not surprisingly, however, the situation is much worse with young drivers and 24% of 17-24 year olds admit to using phones for social networking and sending e-mails, whilst driving. The bad, bad thing here is that it’s this age group that is already at a higher risk of having a crash, even before they start messing with their smart phones!
OK, maybe 8% does not sound much, but that represents a massive 3.5 million licence holders and that probably translates into around 3.5 million cars.
Just to make it worse, its claimed by the IAM, (Institute of Advanced Motorists) that playing with your phone in this way is more dangerous than driving when you are drunk, or driving whilst you are high on Cannabis, so that 3.5 million cars out there that are effectively deadly weapons, capable of killing you, your friends and your family. Not good eh!
So how did they arrive at these conclusions? Well the IAM in conjunction with TRL (Transport Research Laboratory) used a car driving simulator called “DigiCar” to test what the effects were and on the test with young drivers using Facebook, in every area of the test, their driving was badly effected.
Frighteningly, when sending or receiving Facebook messages, their reaction times slowed by around 38% and in addition to that, missed key events, were unable to maintain a central lane position and couldn’t respond as quickly when the vehicle in front gradually changed its speed.
So “pop pickers” here is this weeks chart of sloppy reactions.
- Using a Smartphone for social networking slows reaction time by 37.6%
- Texting whilst driving slows reaction times by 37.4%
- A hands free mobile phone conversation slows reaction times by 26.5%
- Cannabis (didn’t say what quantity) slows reaction times by 21%
- Alcohol (above the legal limit but below 100mg per 100ml of blood) slows the reaction time by 6 and 15%
- Alcohol “at the legal limit” slows reaction times by 12.5%
Be great if they could add just being a lousy inattentive driver (like most of us see everyday) to the charts and see where they fit?
Anyway, what this does do, is demonstrate that messing with your mobile can be up to 3 times more dangerous than being “illegally drunk” behind the wheel and worse than smoking illegal drugs, but the main wake up call to us all should be just how common using social media whilst driving actually is.
So guys, gals, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers, you will know if one of you’re loved ones has a Smartphone and you will also know (trust me) if they use social media, such as Facebook & Twitter. Do them a favour, do yourself a favour and do all of us a favour and tell them, tell you’re loved ones just what these figures reveal, as they aren’t made up, its fact and unfortunately could end up costing people their lives and these wont be “virtual” deaths but real ones and maybe even their own and worse still (it seems) none of their mates are going to like losing a Facebook friend….so at this point should I say LOL?