Distraction can be described as the lack of ability to pay attention or lack of interest, and whilst being distracted completing a number of day to day tasks may not cause too much disturbance, distraction whilst driving can have devastating consequences.
Safe Road Use, one of the five pillars of the Safe System, encourages all road users to understand and comply with road rules, taking responsibility for the safety of themselves and others, including, not being distracted by in-vehicle technology (mobile phones, entertainment systems, sat navs, etc.)
As use of mobile technology remains prevalent and in car technology continues to be enhanced, it is anticipated that distraction will continue and possibly increase as a road safety concern. The Road Safety Framework 2030 includes a number of Strategic Actions to counteract this, including plans to undertake research and evaluation on the impact that technology may have on road safety. Whilst steps are being taken to reduce concern, it is important that all road users work to improve this.
In Scotland, a distraction to the driver from inside the vehicle was a contributory factor in 2% of recorded collisions in 2020. Distractions for road users may include using a mobile phone whilst driving, changing music or using sat nav, making a call using speakerphone, driving with others in the car and also the obvious issue of pedestrian distraction.
Drivers can limit distractions by ensuring they never use a mobile phone whilst driving including whilst stationery at traffic lights. It is good practice to have your phone on silent or away from reach to avoid the temptation. If you are using a mobile phone for music and want to change it or want to make a call using speakerphone, you should park and turn off the ignition. Never lift your phone while driving, even for a second.
Read more on Using a Mobile Phone whilst Driving here.
Other ways drivers can avoid distraction include;
– Keeping music volume at a reasonable level to prevent distraction and also to ensure that you are able to hear any Emergency Services.
– Stopping the vehicle and parking before using a sat nav.
– Don’t try to impress passengers by driving too fast or taking unnecessary risks.
– Don’t drive fatigued; fatigue reduces reaction time and concentration.
We all have a shared responsibility to use roads safely, those inside the vehicle, and outside. Pedestrians can be safer and avoid being a distraction to other road users as well;
– Avoid using your mobile phone when crossing the road.
– If you are walking and listening to music, make sure you pay extra attention to what is going on around you.
– Use pedestrian crossings where possible.
– If out in the dark, make sure you are visible.
– If walking and there is no pavement, walk facing traffic and not with – this allows you to see what is coming but also reassures drivers that you know they are there.
– Never cross the road when you can’t see on-coming traffic clearly.
Driving needs 100% concentration, unfortunately, just a glance or a lapse in concentration is all it takes to increase the risk of a collision.
Road Safety Scotland created a short video on driver distraction which can be found below: