What is distracted driving? It is defined as the act of driving while engaged in other activities, that take the driver’s attention away from the road. As the road accident rate continues to rise in South Africa, we would like to build an awareness about distracted driving as one of the leading causes.
Distraction of Electronic Devices
Many accidents are caused by drivers becoming distracted by electronic devices, especially cellphones. This makes sense when you consider that drivers can be tempted to make a call or send a “quick” message on their phones while driving. But since the time it takes to converse or read a message and respond can add up and divert a driver’s attention from the road, it’s clear that this can result in disaster. There can also be other reasons for a motorist’s flagging attention such as being distracted by passengers in their vehicles and eating or drinking while driving.
Alarming Safety Statistics
According to the International Road Traffic and Accident Database (IRTAD), South Africa has one of the highest accident rates in the world, four times higher than the average in neighbouring countries.
Rise in Deaths
The report states that although we have made strides in reducing the number of road accident fatalities since their peak in 2006, there has unfortunately been a spike in deaths in recent years. In 2015, there was a 2% increase from the previous year, which grew to 9% in 2016. There were 14 071 road fatalities in this period, which amounted to a fatality rate of 25.2 per 100 000 inhabitants.
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