Driver safety is a topic that has been discussed and improved on over many years, but the statistics show that one of the biggest causes of road accidents is driver distraction, either by a passenger or by an electronic device.
The future can foresee safety devices which cut off your phone calls, silence the radio and monitor the weather, via intelligent windscreen wipers, as insurers step up their hi-tech efforts to turn us into better drivers and reduce the number of accidents. However, connectivity will never go away, and a total ban on phone usage is not likely, well, not in the near future anyway. Our Phones have become a part of us, and we will not turn it off just because we are driving., in fact with the Navigational apps now available, we actually need them to help us find our way to our destination.
The Mobile Phone is also contributing to Security and Peace of Mind. Knowing that it is permissible to use a cellular phone while driving reduces worry and stress while contributing to peace of mind. The ability to achieve virtually instant communication, whether from or to a driver, provides the driver a psychological reassurance that unexpected events of the day can be managed effectively and that worries related to uncertainties can be resolved by instant news conveyed through a phone call. The added sense of security may arise when traveling alone, at night, in poor weather, in a crime- ridden parts of town, in an unfamiliar location, or at any moment when the driver is feeling vulnerable.
The new technology is not something you can roll out to all cars in a flash, and as the cars generally in South Africa are more than 5 years old, new initiatives like black boxes and so on will not hit the South African market anytime soon, and when it does it will only be in the absolute premier cars.
Looking at statistics and key findings from research carried out specifically on the effects of mobile telephoning on driving performance demonstrates the following. Broekhuis, Vries and Waard research results show clearly that subjects who operated the hands free telephone showed better control over the test vehicle than the subjects who operated the handheld telephone, as measured by the steering wheel movements.
Gray & Schunn research on predicting the effects of cellular-phone dialing on driver performance finds that manual dialing results in deviations much greater than any of the other method with an overall pattern of lower deviations for voice dialing. https://www.cs.drexel.edu/~salvucci/publications/Salvucci-CSR02.pdf
The real-world implications of driver performance studies are certain. Drivers may become aware of the risks entailed in using a cellular phone whilst driving, either through their own intuition, through what they learn from family members, friends and the media. There are a range of tools and technology to assist in mounting phones correctly, as well as using handsfree enabled features which are available on a large majority of mobile phones on the market today. 84% of the Mobile Phones offer handsfree dialing, maps, as well voice activation. Only 17% of the cars in South Africa are bluetooth enabled
These results clearly document some detrement in driver performance that is associated with use of a cellular phone while driving. But clearly demonstrates that when correctly mounted and not hand held, driver ability improves. The answer to this question is very clear, that correct mounting and ease of hands free usage results in improvement in overall drivers performance.
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