For the last 20 years or so, most Western Governments have continually shouted about speed being the primary cause of serious road accidents. Of course speed in itself isn’t a problem, but the speed of two objects that collide is a factor when it comes to vehicle damage, injuries or even fatalities. In recent years car manufacturers have developed new collision absorption materials and engineering solutions like multiple airbags, driver alerts, automated braking, sensors, cameras and more inside the vehicle. These have all helped, but more can be done in terms of understanding the typical scenarios which elad to collisions on the road.
A new report by Arity in the USA suggests that distracted driving is an increasing risk factor, which would make sense as tech devices now litter new vehicles, from Sat Nav, to in-car movie screens, ADAS systems, bluetooth synced smartphones and so on. In addition, many cars now feature head up displays on their windscreen, which require the driver to glance away from the road ahead to read the – often very small – data or numbers.
Here’s some number crunching;
Among fatal crashes, 8% of police-reported collisions in 2020 were identified as distracted driving-related.
In 2019, crashes caused by distracted driving cost $98B or about $300 per person in the U.S. That same year, over 3,000 people were killed and over 300,000 people experienced non-fatal injuries in distracted-driving related crashes. Distracted-driving fatalities increased 0.7% from 2019 to 2020–even though fewer trips were taking place during the first year of the pandemic.
Across the United States, there has been a 16% increase since 2011 in auto insurance premiums due to the rise of accidents
caused by this phenomenon.
WORK RELATED COMMS?
The Arity study also detected a dip in distracted driver craches during June and July, which suggests that vacation time could also be a factor, as drivers are not so keen to respond immediately to texts, group or chat messages that are work related. Arity also noted that traffic lvels are lighter overall in summer, so there are fewer vehicles to collide with, assuming the driver makes an error in concentration.
Interestingly, the research also found that Sunday drivers tended to drive a bit faster, pay more attention to the task of driving and so ignored electronic devices. So speed can be a positive thing, as slow drivers stuck in shoals of traffic are tempted to check emails and social media.
You can learn more about the Arity study here by the way.