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The introduction, adoption and obsession with smartphones is leading to an equally dangerous epidemic – distracted driving.

A recent survey from American research group Claims Journal found that almost two-thirds of drivers (63 per cent) are more afraid of distracted drivers on the road than they are of drunk drivers.

The study also found that 75 per cent of driver see other motorist using their phones while driving every day, while 45 percent see phone distraction on the road multiple times a day.

And while smartphones may not be the only cause of distraction on the road, but they certainly top the list. The data showed the top distractions drivers experience include:

  • Navigation (27 percent)
  • Text messages (30 percent)
  • Phone calls (32 percent)
  • Other passengers (44 percent)

While the prevalence of drunk driving has been well documented for decades, we are still learning the full impact of distracted driving on our roads. Indeed while the problem of smartphone use while driving skews somewhat towards younger drivers, all drivers must take responsibility for how their behaviour affects both their safety and the safety of other drivers.

Recent research from the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) found almost half of all Victorians under the age of 30 have used their phone when driving, with the demographic seeing the habit as more socially acceptable than pushing into a queue.

TAC Chief Executive Officer Joe Calafiore said it was important that there was a conversation within the community about mobile phone use, in particular, when behind the wheel.

“With the average Australian checking their phone more than 150 times a day, people are putting their lives and the lives of others at risk, sometimes without even realising,” Mr Calafiore said.

“Using a mobile phone when driving is extremely dangerous, because it means you’re taking your eyes off the road. Glancing at a phone for just two seconds while driving at 50 km/h means travelling blind for 30 metres.”

“Many people don’t see using their phone behind the wheel as dangerous, until they see someone else doing it.”

Take the lead with your organisation by implementing a zero-tolerance policy to combat distracted drivers within your organisation.