The SaveLife Foundation, an independent NGO committed to improving road safety and emergency medical care across India, has revealed the findings of the country's first study on distracted driving. Based on a national survey conducted by TNS India, the study aims to find the scope and depth of the issue of distracted driving due to the use of mobile phones.
The study was conducted across eight cities – Delhi, Chennai, Jaipur, Bengaluru, Mangalore, Kanpur, Mumbai and Kolkata – and was carried out among 1,749 drivers covering various categories of vehicles like two-wheelers, four-wheelers, trucks/buses and autorickshaws.
There are many factors that can distract a driver, like the usage of a mobile phone, eating and drinking, conversation with co-passengers, self-grooming, reading or watching videos, adjusting the radio or music player and even using a GPS system for navigation.
Among the factors, mobile phone usage is said to be the most distracting one – it can impair driving performance. For instance, it can increase reaction time and the frequency of lane change, and cause an overall reduction in awareness of the driving situation. Distracted drivers are about four times as likely to be involved in crashes as those who are focused on driving.
The survey brought out some interesting figures on the use of mobile phones while driving. The following are a few of them:
• 94 percent respondents were aware of its dangers
• 47 percent admitted to receiving calls on their phones
• 34 percent drivers tend to apply their brakes suddenly when using mobile phones
• 20 percent had experienced a near-miss or a crash
India is the No.1 contributor to global road crash mortality and morbidity figures. Every hour, around 16 lives are lost to road crashes in India. In the last decade alone, India lost 1.3 million people to road crashes and another 5.3 million were disabled for life.
To reduce the use of mobile devices while driving, the study recommends the following interventions:
• Setting up an effective legislation against the use of a mobile device while driving
• Sustained enforcement to prevent the use of mobile devices while driving
• Police data collection of crashes due to mobile phone usage
• Powerful public campaigns to educate about the dangers of mobile phone usage while driving
• Company policies with a clear directive to its employees to follow safety rules on the road
Read more about the study here.