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Distracted Driving – Views From ‘A Promise to Adam’
Until self driving cars are perfected, drivers have to rely on their own initiative and driving ability to keep themselves safe. However, this ability is often hindered by people’s desire to check their phones whilst at the wheel.
People can get distracted whilst driving in a number of ways…
Probably the most common distraction for drivers is using their phones.
25% of teenagers admit to using their mobile phone whilst driving, despite the current penalties being a £1000 fine, penalty points, and even a driving ban!
It begs a question: is enough actually being done to prevent distracted driving, or to educate people about the dangers of distracted driving.
This problem happens not just in the UK, but all over the world – distracted driving is a global concern. Road safety organisation, ‘A Promise to Adam’, who currently campaign in the US against distracted driving following the tragic death of the founders’ son Adam, have kindly shared their input on the matter.
1) Thank you for taking the time to answer some of our questions. Could you start off by telling us a little bit about who Adam was?
“Adam was a brilliant, very funny, athletic, and handsome young man. He was the lynchpin in a group of tightly knit friends; the kid who organised activities and got the group going. (…) Adam was 17 when the car he was driving hit a tree and he died.”
2) According to ROSPA, it was found that in the UK “78% of crashes and 65% of near crashes had one form of inattention or distraction as a contributing factor”. What are your thoughts on this statistic?
“We are not surprised at this statistic. The problem is endemic in the US. We do not know for certain if Adam was texting or otherwise distracted at the time of his death, though telephone records indicate that the last text was sent several minutes beforehand.”
3) Do you have any advice to those who frequently get distracted whilst driving? Is there anything they can do to prevent getting distracted?
“An automobile is the largest, heaviest, fastest, and most dangerous machine that most people will ever operate … As a society, I believe we have an obligation to repeatedly deliver warnings in a variety of formats and venues. Our campaign (A Promise to Adam) is but one way. The hope is that at least some people – even if a small number – will remember the right message at the right time, and an accident will be avoided.”
4) Do you think driving lessons do enough to teach people the rules and dangers around distracted driving?
“We do not have sufficient information to respond, but we do know that the internet and social media offer an enormous number of resources that are freely available to anyone, including driving schools. We highly recommend using multiple approaches, since people vary in their receptivity to different formats.”
5) What sort of impression do you hope Adam’s story will leave on people and what changes do you hope can be made to people’s attitudes about distracted driving?
“Our hope is as stated above: that some people may remember the right message at the right time … Adam made a horrible mistake; really a series of mistakes. We hope others learn from this.”
We thank ‘A Promise to Adam’ for their informative words of wisdom.
There are still hundreds of road fatalities each year. Though It’s unclear how much of it is down to distraction, I’m sure we can all recognise how easy it is to get distracted. However, we may not always consider the potential effects of this loss of focus.