So many actions cause a distraction to drivers, but mobile phones have a significant concern. Smartphones, most especially with their many features, are a growing risk to road safety.
Research after research has proven its negative impact while driving, yet the occurrences keep increasing.
Here, we analyzed mobile phones as a distraction that increases a driver’s risk on the road and possible remedies to this threat.
Consequences of Using Mobile Phones While Driving
Since the advent of smartphones, the cases of motor vehicle crashes have increased as drivers have more functions to manipulate on their phones than before.
A driver can select music, access a road map, locate a buzzing phone, dial a number, answer a call, and lots more.
These distractions can take drivers’ eyes and mind out of the road for 5 seconds, and they can also take the driver’s hand out of the steering wheel for a while.
Other adverse effects of mobile phones are taking the driver away from the supposed lane, causing non-compliance to traffic lights, and slow driving distance.
Generally, from observations, drivers that use more phones while on the wheel are four times at risk of involving in motor vehicle crashes because of the increased cognitive distraction.
In a study by Young and Rudin-Brown in Australia, 2010, they observed that majority of the population involved in distracted driving are 30 years and below.
Interventions on Mobile Phones use as Driver’s Distraction
It is now a top concern for policymakers in road safety among countries to reduce the impacts of using mobile phones to distract drivers.
They have been putting in place a lot of strategies to ensure a drastic reduction in the risk factors involved to the barest minimum.
These include driver’s education, law enactment, enforcement, stakeholder involvement, and modern technology.
It is imperative to provide drivers with safety lessons, especially younger ones, on the risks of using their phones while on the wheel. It is the first thing that drivers should learn before other driving lessons.
Stakeholders should organize habitual publicity, campaigning on the hazards of mobile phone distractions on drivers.
During these campaigns, drivers, as well as manufacturers, should be targeted. Also, the road safety commissions should state the effects and consequences of using phones while driving on drivers’ health, their finance, and law.
Most importantly, drivers understand that while mobile phones are essential to their daily life, they can also be risky while driving.
Enactment of Traffic Laws and Enforcement
So many countries have made laws against the use of mobile phones while driving. Some of these legislations target high-risk groups while others are general.
Some of these mobile phone bans on driving are on hands-free Smartphone’s while others are on handheld mobile phones, depending on countries.
These laws on mobile phones while driving are excellent, but these nations should also enforce them. Violators, especially deadly ones, can serve long prison sentences.
These legislations and their enforcements have to evidence of efficiency till the present.
Since the introduction of hands-free mobile phones, it has been challenging to identify when a driver is using the phone. It will require more police officers on the road at all times.
The law implementation should directly involve stakeholders like operators and producers of mobile phones, transportation companies, and insurance firms in curtailing the risk of phone use while driving.
Other corporate firms have forbidden their staff from using mobile phones behind the wheel. Insurance corporations can refuse payment of premium or total rejection of coverage in the event of crashes caused by phone usage.
Stakeholders at all levels should show examples by not using their phones for even the most little driving task.
Network providers and phone producers should have a warning on their manuals against mobile phones behind the wheels.
Phone manufacturers should include functions to investigate when a mobile phone user is driving and caution.
Use of Modern Technology
To protect drivers from the distractions caused by mobile phones, a lot of modern technology has been helpful recent.
Firstly, in some vehicles, once the driver moves away from the supposed lane, a feature warns the driver on the development. Law enforcement agencies can also figure it out when a driver defies traffic lights and over speeds.
Secondly, the ‘do not disturb feature in phones can be activated while on the wheel. Android OS and iOS 11 have these features that enable activation to prevent distractions.
Alternatively, the Android Auto app has this mode to help drivers reduce incoming conversations behind the wheel.
Thirdly, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, among other features that can fit in the dash of modern cars, is a recent technology that has helped reduce driving distractions. These interfaces enable the driver to perform specific tasks easier like with a stereo.
Most importantly, mounting a mobile phone close to the level of the eyes has proven to be helpful. Honestly, there should be a performance of some functional tasks while driving, such as navigations.
Hi-fi charging mounts and phone mounts can be steady, handy, and secure. While the driver’s eyes are on the road, the mobile phone stand can allow viewing navigations without holding the phone.
Recent technology allows audio commands like dialing numbers, selection of music, texting, and lots more. It is, however, more convenient if the phone is mounted nearby.
How can mobile phones be a distraction when driving?
Drivers that use their mobile phones while they are driving have a significant percentage of involving in accidents.
Driving and operating a mobile phone both involve physical and mental concentration. When the attention is gone, distraction sets in, and this can cause a crash.
What distraction can increase your driving risk?
So long as a driver’s eye is away from the road, the distraction can lead to a motor vehicle accident. There are, however, many actions that put a driver on the wheel at risk.
Some of the most prevailing actions include taking glances at the navigational tool, eating while on the wheel, texting, and answering phone calls.
In what ways can we reduce the risk of accidents for drivers using mobile phones?
Many phones now have a ‘do not disturb while driving feature. Drivers are encouraged to activate this mode while on the road to reduce the number of phone calls and messages they will receive.
Drivers can also reduce the risk of an accident by focusing on the road, installing mobile-friendly features on their dash, and mounting their phones close to their eyes if they must use them to navigate.
As a general rule, it is very pertinent that drivers should focus only on the road whenever they are behind the wheel.
Keeping away from distractions while driving requires discipline and understanding of the impending risks. If a driver must perform a task, the person should do it before or after driving.
Mobile phones are essential tools that we need at all times. Nevertheless, awareness campaigns, technology, enforcement, and public involvement can reduce distraction from the driver while on the road.