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30 Nov 2010

A survey carried out by Specsavers this week revealed that far too many of us are getting distracted behind the wheel with 30 percent of drivers polled admitting to having an accident or near miss because they weren’t concentrating.

These are truly shocking statistics and highlight the dark side of mobile technology such as sat navs and smart phones, which sit temptingly on the dashboard and on the passenger seat beside us. These tools, although essential communications devices, present a constant distraction and effectively turn the passenger seat into a moving office.

Of the 3,000 drivers surveyed, two thirds admitted being easily distracted and almost three quarters said they didn’t give the road their full attention. What’s more, the findings revealed that checking Facebook or Twitter and sending a text message, were among the top ten most popular things to do while waiting in traffic queues.

Although the increasing sophistication of mobile phones – most of which now come with email and internet capability as standard – are a fantastic development for the business driver in particular, separation must be maintained between this technology and the act of driving. Reading emails while the car is at a standstill in a traffic jam is one thing but, when the traffic starts moving again, at what point does the driver put their phone down and return their concentration to the road? The temptation to finish a text message or email will be strong and it only takes a seconds lapse in concentration for an accident to occur.

These findings suggest an increasingly casual attitude to driving amongst UK drivers. As cars become smoother, quieter and more comfortable to drive and the on-board technology becomes more advanced we must not forget that beneath the shiny red paint is a very powerful machine capable of destroying lives.

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