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Drivers using mobiles 4 times more likely to have accidents: WHO ‘No Evidence To Show Hands-Free Devices Safer’

April 25, 2019 05:36 AM

COURTESY TIMES OF INDIA APRIL 25

Drivers using mobiles 4 times more likely to have accidents: WHO
‘No Evidence To Show Hands-Free Devices Safer’
Dipak.Dash@timesgroup.com

New Delhi:

Drivers who use mobile phones while at the wheel are four times more likely to be involved in accidents, according to the World Health Organisation. It’s far more dangerous if drivers are texting as they take their eyes off the road, posing a much higher risk for all road-users.


According to the WHO, there has been no conclusive evidence to show that hands-free devices are safer than handheld phones indicating how distraction in any form increases manifold the chances of accidents.

Several studies across the globe suggest that drivers take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds out of every six seconds while texting. This means a driver would cover a football field without looking at the road while driving at a speed of 80-90kmph and texting.

The WHO says the use of a mobile phone can impair the performance of several driving tasks, leading to longer reaction times to detect and respond to unexpected driving-related events, impaired ability to maintain correct lane position and slower braking reactions with more intensive braking and shorter stopping distances.

The recent death of a child in Delhi after being run over by his uncle who was using his mobile phone while driving has once again pointed to the need of a stronger law to curb the menace, which has been identified as one of the major contributors to road deaths worldwide.

While developed countries identified the use of mobile phones as a major risk factor for road fatalities nearly 7-8 years ago, it was only in 2016 that the Indian government took note of this emerging crisis. According to the annual road accident data published by the road transport ministry, while 2,138 people were killed in 2016 in accidents caused due to use of mobile phones, 4,746 were injured.

The deaths increased to 3,172 in 2017 and the number of people injured also rose to 7,830. “Still the actual number of people killed in such accidents is not properly captured.

The government has made a good beginning and we hope there will be an improvement in the data that we will get in the next few years. All such deaths can be avoided if people become cautious and the law-enforcing agencies take strict action against violators,” said K K Kapila, chief of the International Road Federation

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