KEEP YOU MIND ON YOUR DRIVIN'
NEW DATA WARNS OF DISTRACTIONS AT THE WHEEL FOR DRIVERS
Sarah Sillars from The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has warned that car manufacturers are making modern cars too comfortable. Far from reducing the factors which could distract drivers while they are driving, new cars have a multitude of features which could make drivers too relaxed at the wheel.
Keep you hands on the wheel
In their eagerness to stay ahead of the game, car manufacturers are bringing out new cars which come with an increasing array of built in gadgets designed to attract buyers but with a hidden drawback. The danger is that too much technology is very tempting and could distract drivers while they are driving. New car dashboards are coming out with built in sat-nav and GPS systems and excellent smartphone connectivity to enable easy use of social media so that drivers can stay connected at all times. But will they then stay connected to what is going on around them outside their car on the roads?
The American NHTSA (US Department of Transportation and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration) has issued guidelines on this problem which the IAM are recommending that we adopt in the UK. The guidelines suggest that drivers should be restricted from using anything other than essential technology while at the wheel and that car manufacturers should not build any technology into their vehicles which will take the driver's attention off the wheel for longer than two seconds. Currently these guidelines, which are being phased in over the next three years in the US, are voluntary but they are attempting to deal with a significant and growing problem.
US Federal data shows that in 2011 accidents involving distracted drivers killed 3,331 people and injured 387,000. And for younger drivers the odds are even worse as car accidents are the main cause of death for teenagers and a quarter of all teen-driving crashes in the US are attributed to distraction.
Keep your snoopy eyes on the road ahead
This is an especially significant problem for motorcyclists who are more vulnerable on the road and need car drivers to focus and concentrate on the road and traffic around them so that they are aware of motorcycle traffic sharing the roads with them. Motorcycles are already difficult to see from a car and if the car driver is too comfortable, with too much technology at their fingertips, then they will be less aware of other vehicles on the road.
The IAM's Sarah Sillars said:
“We cannot allow the same trends in the USA to happen here. While car makers work constantly to incorporate active and passive safety features into vehicles, making us safer than ever before, they are also guilty of making us too comfortable and making us feel more cosseted – like we were in our own living rooms.”
The IAM says that as technology constantly changes, continued education campaigns are required to reinforce and update the current laws.
“Technology could be a great way of helping to cut the numbers of people killed and seriously injured on our roads. It would be a tragedy if technology became a reason why more, rather than less, people lose their lives.”
Let's hope this problem gets properly addressed so that cars do not become even more hazardous for motorcyclists to share the roads with.
Info from IAM press release
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