It’s not easy to reach an illegal speed on UK roads in 2019. Potholes, speed bumps, 20mph limits enforced 24/7 and the sheer volume of traffic, all combine to slow drivers down to an average speed in urban areas that bicycles and horse-drawn wagons could achieve a century ago.
Driver distraction is now viewed as the biggest driver related risk to road safety. More people feel the risks of distraction are greater than drink driving and speeding. This is according to a survey of 1000 road users to support the launch of Theo – the smart in-car companion that helps motorists stay focused on the road. Furthermore, despite new laws that have recently been strengthened to deter phone use at the wheel, 7 in 10 has seen a driver using a handheld mobile phone while driving, in the past month.
Worryingly, the survey found that 18 -24 year olds and the 65 + age groups view mobile phone use as less of a risk compared to those between 25 and 54 in age, even though these two groups represent the highest accident risks. While road casualties in young drivers have fallen over the past 8 years, largely attributed to telematics insurance, the latest government data shows a rise in road casualties for older drivers.
In Road Safety Week 2019, Mike Brockman, a pioneer in the use of technology to improve road safety and the creator of Theo, the video enabled in-car companion, is urging motorists to put mobile phones out of sight and out of temptation and get their car connected to get safe.
Mike Brockman says: “The law has now been tightened to deter people from taking pictures or videos while driving following the ban on handheld mobile phone calls. Yet we all see drivers blatantly flouting the law because the chances of being caught are so minimal. It’s no coincidence that in the time it’s taken for mobile phones to become ubiquitous, road casualty levels have shown no real signs of improvement. The only group to see an improvement in road casualties is young drivers where telematics insurance has helped reduced road casualties by over 30% .
“The good news is that it is very simple to get your car connected to help reduce the risks of distraction – whether that’s yours or another driver’s. All it takes is a 10cm diameter smart device called Theo fitted to the windscreen with 4G connectivity, with sensors that warn you when you get too close to the car in front, videos the road ahead – day or night – through a HD camera and will speak to the driver in the car, following an accident, whether big or small, to facilitate immediate and on-going support.
“Theo represents the next generation of car safety technology and with distraction overtaking speeding in the risk stakes, motorists need to do all they can to improve their safety.”