Just 7% of accidents are caused by excessive speed, which is one of the most surprising statistics to emerge in recent years. According to Perry McCarthy, the original Top Gear Stig, there is nothing worse than distracted driving, which is the reason why he told us, “I do not listen to the radio or music.”
Now if a professional racing driver finds the radio a distraction then just imagine what he would think about your smartphone? Taking into account texts, tweets, news, Instagram likes and the many other smartphone notifications todays driver sees. Perry believes “The key absolute in racing is judgment, you need complete focus on the track and on the road”, and this applies to everyday driving as well.
Of course, the stats back him up. It's the reason Apple recently announced a new Do Not Disturb While Driving feature in their IOS 11 update. This allows you to silence the calls, alerts, and notifications that you get while your device is locked. It introduces a new way to help drivers stay focused on the road while driving. When turned on, your iPhone will detect when you are driving and automatically silence notifications to keep the screen dark. Users have the option of sending an auto reply to contacts to let them know they are driving and cannot respond until they arrive at their destination.
Research has revealed that 78% of accidents involve some form of driver distraction just three seconds prior to the incident. The majority of these are cause by your smartphone, which hopefully these new measures by Apple should go some distance to resolve.
In 70% of accidents drivers are distracted by phone calls and notifications
70% of accidents take place because drivers are distracted by calls and notifications. Drivers also have a 35% slower reaction times while texting. Yet look around the next time you are in traffic and you'll see these messages are not sinking in for UK drivers.
Of course there are a lots of other potential distractions including eating and drinking, passengers, particularly children and pets. There are also many external influences from tailgating to looking at another accident, to roadside posters.
Those incidents can have serious consequences, but touching or using your phone can also have further risks than an accident. The police can stop you if they think you’re not in control because you’re distracted. As a result you could get 6 penalty points and a £200 fine. The courts could ban you from driving and impose a £1000 fine. Oh and if you only passed your driving test in the last two years, you’ll lose your licence.
Those are the sorts of risks and distractions that none of us need - Apple should be applauded for introducing this potentially life saving functionality.