28 March 2014 No Comments by The Northern Standard

A message has gone out to motorists in Co Monaghan and throughout the country to be aware of the dangers of distractions to their driving presented by mobile phones and the presence of children in cars.
Mobile phones and children are the biggest distractions drivers encounter, a new qualitative study on the issue conducted by the Road Safety Authority has found.

The results of the study were presented at the RSA’s annual International Road Safety Conference, which took place in Dublin Castle last week.

The study was conducted over an 18-day period with 30 drivers of all ages and experience who shared their views, opinions and experiences of being distracted at the wheel.

For a period of seven days participants committed to eliminating distractions behind the wheel, such as using their mobile phone, listening to the radio, and eating or drinking while driving. They then shared their experiences through video diary blogs and discussion forums.

The study highlighted how busy modern lifestyles are cited as a reason for using a mobile phone while driving – drivers feel that external pressures leave them with no option but to do so.

The findings indicated that men and women rationalise their behaviour in different ways, with men citing work, particularly self-employment, and women citing busy schedules and the need to be available in emergency situations as reasons to use their phone while driving.

The research also found that the most effective way to change a driver’s behaviour is to understand the lifestyle pressures drivers are exposed to. This is a means of helping reduce the problem of driver distraction and offering practical coping strategies to manage potential distractions.

These range from how best to plan for trips with children, and how best to manage the demands of mobile phones, smartphones in particular, when setting out on a journey.

Addressing the Dublin Castle event, Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar said: “This conference is an important step in raising awareness about the dangers of driver distraction. The discussions…show just how easy it is to be distracted while driving.

“We live in a plugged-in world where we are expected to be in constant contact, even in the car. But the reality is that when we are driving, our attention should only be focused on driving safely.
“Later this year, penalty points for using a mobile phone while driving will increase from two to three. As road users, we have a responsibility to …

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