It may not come as much of a surprise to know that young people are more likely to use their mobile phones whilst driving than older motorists, but what’s really worrying is the sheer number of young drivers who allow themselves to become distracted behind the wheel.
Drivers who use their mobile device when driving have half their normal reaction speed and are four times more likely to crash. With the number of fatal collisions involving mobile phone use rising in recent years – a 29% increase from 2012 to 2013 – it’s vital that our young drivers are educated about how dangerous it is to become distracted by their mobile.
Friends and Family – A Deadly Distraction to Young Drivers
A recent driver distraction survey by Brake, the road safety charity, found that more than a third of young drivers talk to their family whilst driving.
Compare this to 23% for drivers of all ages who admit doing the same – still way too high a figure, but the comparison shows us just how much our younger drivers appear to be putting their lives on the line.
It’s certainly a worrying thought that the people who care for a young driver the most could be the very ones who are more likely to put them at risk. No matter how important the call may seem at the time, refusing to speak to your loved one on the phone when they are driving could end up saving their life.
Tougher Penalties and Zero Tolerance
Many people have called for greater fines for drivers who use a mobile phone. Given the high collision risk, plus the rising number of fatalities involving mobile phone use, this is hardly surprising.
Currently, police can issue an on-the-spot fine of £100 for using a mobile phone whilst driving. Brake are calling for this to be raised to at least £500 - £1,000 and for a ban on all mobile phone use at the wheel, including hands-free.
Drivers should also be aware that they could be liable in any claim if it is proven that they were not in full control of their vehicle at the time of the collision.
Jennifer Maloney is a Serious Injury Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Manchester.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers are a leading personal injury law firm and are experts in helping people with road traffic accident compensation claims and guiding them to brighter outcomes.
For a free consultation, call us 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to help you.