How to avoid distracted driving

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Photo: Motorpress.
Photo: Motorpress.

KEEPING the attention of drivers on the road can be done by instilling the dangers of driving while distracted (DWD).

Statistics released in the USA in 2020 provided a sad example of these dangers. Distracted driving was responsible for 8,1% of all fatalities that year, a 0,7% increase from the previous one.

These were especially concerning as they occurred during lockdown, when there were fewer cars on the road.

Continuing to raise awareness about DWD throughout the year should be a priority, along with finding new ways to reduce it.

MasterDrive CEO Eugene Herbert said: “MasterDrive advocates many ways of doing this – from awareness campaigns that illustrate the danger to implementing technology that makes it difficult for drivers to consider using a phone while driving. International research now also suggests there may be another way to reduce DWD that many may not have considered before.”

Statistics from USA said driver training was not only an effective means of decreasing crashes, but also of decreasing the chance drivers would commit violations.

Trained fleets had 25% less violations per month than those that did not undergo training. Research suggested that training, such as distracted driving courses, had potential to substantially reduce organisations’ risk of DWD crashes.

Can South Africa see the same effect should a similar attitude towards training and DWD arise?

“Statistically, it’s difficult to say without the relevant data to assist the analysis. But from the perspective of an organisation with experience in how training motivates better driving behaviour, it might very well be another effective means to curb DWD.

“In current defensive driver training, a great deal of change is motivated by greater understanding. Drivers know it’s dangerous to speed but in most instances, will often commit the violation anyway because there is a lack of full understanding of the consequences. Those that have undergone training understand what the difference will be when you hit an object at 60km/h versus 80km/h. Comprehending this difference is often enough to motivate one to think twice about committing the violation,” Herbert added.

An intensive anti-DWD training course, therefore, could have potential in the fight against DWD.

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