Alarming number of drivers ignore safety and pay attention to ringing phones instead | more lifestyle | Hindustan Times
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Alarming number of drivers ignore safety and pay attention to ringing phones instead

A new research also showed that drivers underestimate the distracting dangers of passive phone use.

more lifestyle Updated: Sep 08, 2017 11:40 IST
Despite the research, 12% drivers still don’t believe talking on a handheld phone is dangerous.
Despite the research, 12% drivers still don’t believe talking on a handheld phone is dangerous.(Shutterstock)

Do you find it difficult to ignore a ringing phone? It’s time to change that. A new study revealing almost 50% believe locating and answering a ringing phone is not as risky as talking and texting, but that’s not true. The research undertaken by Queensland University of Technology’s Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Queensland (CARRS-Q) found locating a ringing phone, checking who is calling, and rejecting or answering the call, is the most frequent mobile phone task undertaken by drivers. Lead researcher Oscar Oviedo-Trespalacios said that drivers did not believe that locating and answering a ringing phone was as risky as talking, texting or browsing.

“The study of 484 Queensland drivers found 45% admit to locating and answering a ringing phone, compared to 28% who reported speaking on a handheld device,” he noted, adding, “Also concerning is that more drivers reported looking at a screen for more than 2 seconds or locating and answering a ringing phone, than they did talking on a handheld phone, texting or browsing.” Oviedo-Trespalacios said when considering the risk of these different mobile phone tasks, most drivers underestimated the distracting dangers of passive phone use.

“Finding and reaching for a ringing phone is perceived by drivers as having a mid-range crash risk, however research has showed that this task is one of the most risky activities a driver can engage in,” he said. Oviedo-Trespalacios said that using a mobile phone while driving had been shown to increase crash risk four-fold. “Novice drivers are particularly at risk as they are more likely to drive while using a mobile phone.”

Despite the research, 12% drivers still don’t believe talking on a handheld phone is dangerous. Drivers actively avoid police detection, with about 70% admitting to being on the lookout for police when using their phone. Drivers keep their phones low and cover them to evade police detection. On a typical day, drivers are more likely to look at their mobile phone for more than 2 seconds, than they are to text or browse. The study appears in the journal PLOS ONE.

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