The Institute of Advanced Motorists in Britain conducted research to study distracted driving behavior practices on British roads. The findings are stunning. Let us look at them:
- Up to one in five young drivers take ‘selfies’ at the wheel.
- Seven per cent of drivers even went as far as watching videos and streaming catch-up television. Among the offenders, 13 per cent were18 to 24-year-olds and 15 per cent were 25 to 32-year-olds.
- Overall, men are the main offenders with 12% admitting taking a ‘driving selfie’ in the last month compared to 5% of women.
- Eight per cent of drivers admitted to driving while using a video-calling application such as Facetime or Skype to make and receive video calls, rising to 16 per cent among 18 to 24 year olds.
I am wondering if the trends in USA are any different.
I was on KARE11 the past weekend discussing distracted driving and to talk about the Shreya R. Dixit Memorial Foundation’s 8th Raksha Walk on August 1 in Eden Prairie. During our conversation Maura, my interviewer shared a revelation about one of her friends. Her friend claims that she watches Netflix while driving.
How intelligent is that?
Perhaps this person has not met someone like me who lost a daughter to a distracted driver. I do not want anyone to be in my shoes. Such drivers are living dangerously in the ‘It cannot not happen to me’ syndrome. Believe me it can happen to anyone. Distracted driving is an EQUAL OPPORTUNITY KILLER. My dear friends, your automobile is a two-ton hunk of still at 60 miles an hour. Handle it with care. It can easily explode like a cannon during a split second of distraction. It deserves to receive full attention.
So, drivers in USA and Britain seem to be behaving in a similar fashion.
How about our friends up north in Canada?
Here is a Vancouver truck driver who narrated the following episode that he experienced recently. From his driver seat he was able to look down into the adjacent cars. The following are his exact words:
I’m sitting at a red light.
The driver in the car beside me is looking down, doing whatever, probably texting.
The light turns green, I start to move forward. The car beside me is not moving.
I look in the mirror; the car that was beside me is now three car lengths behind.
I put on my flashers to change lanes. Now the car that was behind me is moving fast to catch up. Probably finished texting.
I change lanes and while looking in my mirror I see the driver flash his finger at me.
He is in his own world, doesn’t care about others. He can delay traffic at will but don’t get in his way when he is ready to roll.“
Are these Skype calls, Facetime chats and Net movies and those ubiquitous texts so important that you are willing to risk someone’s life on the road or perhaps your own?
To get a compelling answer, please come to Eden Prairie on Saturday, August 1 for the Raksha Distraction-free 5k-10k Walk/Run. For details visit: shreyadixit.org. We will show you a crashed car in which the passenger was killed because the driver got distracted. We will also have tools to let you examine your driving skills on two simulators. The results may surprise you, shattering your overconfidence in texting while driving.
Won’t you like to live a full life?