A major study on driver distraction conducted by the Monash University Accident Research Centre and Monash Injury Research Institute have come up with data that should push Australians to rethink their time behind the wheel: driver distraction causes more car crashes than alcohol or drugs.
The study analysed 340 serious casualty crashes in Victoria and NSW between 2000 and 2011 using data from the forensic examination of crash scenes and anonymous interviews with drivers. It did not include collisions caused by speed and focused exclusively on crashes caused by inattention in an attempt to know more about why drivers stop concentrating. The researchers found that distraction caused 16% of crashes.
The biggest source of distraction for drivers was found to be a passenger inside the vehicle – interactions between drivers and passengers caused 5.1% of crashes studied. This could include talking, arguing, misbehaving, crying, or otherwise seeking the driver’s attention.
Other large and increasingly common causes of distraction-related crashes included in-vehicle technology such as GPS devices and mobile phones. Other types of driver inattention such as intoxication, sleep, fatigue and illness were found to have caused 37% of the studied crashes.
The study also predicted based on current trends that technology-related driver distraction would claim 50 lives and cause 954 serious injuries on Victorian roads between this year and 2017.
With younger inexperienced drivers being one of the major risk groups when it comes to distracted driving, parents and driving schools need to look further into deterring driver distractions rather than tightening legislations to punish it.
Interestingly, Professor Stevenson who led the research said that the best way to limit distraction-related crashes could be through even more technology:
‘The traditional way for much of road safety has been to legislate and enforce but in relation to some of the in-vehicle distractions being introduced, there may be a technological solution as well and I think we need to start paying more attention to that.
New technology such as the Mobileye might be the answer. Mobileye is the only comprehensive Advanced Driver Awareness System currently available for aftermarket installation in Australia, and is already being used by UNSW researchers in Australia’s largest road safety study on driver behaviour.
Mobileye offers key road and driver safety features to all drivers, helping to improve driving habits and improve driver behaviour using visual and audio alerts without being a distraction in the car.
Perfected after years of heavy research and development, Mobileye’s driver awareness technology has been adopted as a standard safety feature by leading automotive manufacturers including Volvo, BMW and General Motors.
Coca Cola Hellenic, one of the world’s largest bottlers of products of the Coca-Cola company, uses Mobileye technology as its fleet safety program and even won the International Fleet Safety of the Year award in 2010. Mr. Kis, the Fleet Support Manager at Coca Cola Hellenic selected Mobileye’s systems after a 19 week pilot with outstanding outcomes, including zero crashes, improved driver behaviour and substantial savings in gasoline.
The Mobileye system addresses one of the primary causes of vehicle accidents – driver inattention. Consisting of an intelligent camera system that utilises vehicle, lane and pedestrian detection technologies, the Mobileye measures the distance to other vehicles, lane markings and pedestrians. It provides drivers with important and often life-saving visual and audio alerts to help them avoid a collision before it happens. By providing real-time feedback to the driver, the Mobileye continually reinforces good driving behaviour and helps reduce the risk of collision.
In light of recent research and findings on the increasing prevalence of driver distraction and its link to crashes, there is an even greater need for a safety device such as the Mobileye.