The research conducted by Allianz explored the relationship between the increasing number of traffic accidents and modern technology devices. The research showed that modern technology distracts drivers which may even lead to loss of lives and reported that one of every two drivers violates the law which makes it illegal to use mobile phones when driving. The distraction caused by mobile phones and navigation systems is considered more dangerous than DUI.
The “road safety research” conducted by Allianz Technology Center (AZT) in Germany, Austria, And Switzerland explored the relationship between the increased number of accidents and the information, communication and entertainment technologies used in the vehicles. With the cooperation of Institute for Applied Psychology and Makam Market Research, 1,600 drivers were interviewed and it was proved that focusing on technical devices while driving significantly increases the accident risk. It was found that 60% of the drivers who were involved in traffic accidents in the last 3 years were actually using their mobile phones during the accident. On the other hand, it was found that 37% of the drivers who were not involved in a traffic accident regularly uses their mobile phones while driving.
Distraction is an even bigger threat than DUI!
Having interpreted the results of the study, Tolga Gurkan, Assistant General Manager of Allianz Turkey Operations, said: “The report shows that every one of ten traffic accidents with casualties are arising from activities unrelated with driving itself. In Germany, 3,500 were killed as a result of traffic accidents last year. According to this study, 256 of these deaths are due to DUI. However, it was also shown that approximately 350 people were killed due to distraction. In the past, DUI was considered a minor crime. But now, many countries including Turkey does not consider it as a minor crime. The global attitude towards using mobile phones while driving needs to change in a similar manner. This study reveals that using mobile phone while driving may cause loss of lives. Before the winter break, we recommend the drivers, especially the ones set for distant destinations, to stay away from all technologic devices while driving.
Half of the drivers use mobile phones while driving
The study conducted by Allianz showed that 46% of the drivers, in other words, almost half of the drivers violate the law on mobile phone use in cars. On the other hand, 74% of the drivers stated that integrated technical devices distract them. 39% of the drivers participated in this study used navigation system while 58% used the radio system through the menu embedded to the front panel. 15% of drivers text and drive and 24% read the messages they receive on their smart phones. It was found that these rates are much higher for the participants aged 24 or younger. 23% of the participants in this age group text and drive and 27% read the messages they receive while driving. Overall, 29% of the participants stated that they check their mobile phones at least to see who is texting or calling them.
Phone calls made by the passengers also distract the driver
The study revealed that 52% of the drivers are distracted by the phone calls made by the passengers. AZT has been calling the decision-makers to make the necessary adjustments in the German Road Traffic Law in order to reflect the advancements in the communication technologies and to add driver distraction as one of the reasons behind traffic accidents in their official accident statistics. Thus, Allianz is pleased with the intention of the German government to issue a law to ban holding mobile devices such as tablets while driving. Nevertheless, Allianz road safety specialists recommend the government officials to ban distractive activities while driving such as watching movies, etc. as part of this law improvement process.
Allianz makes a call:
Any activities which have a critical impact on the road safety such as writing the destination to the navigation device and access to the Internet using the front panel must be disabled by the driver in order to be inaccessible by the driver while driving.
Mobile and integrated devices designed for different vehicles and the ergonomic design of the applications must be compatible and simplified.
Automated emergency braking systems must be integrated to all vehicles. The AZT research shows that one third of all the head-to-head collisions can be prevented if all the vehicles are equipped with proper technologies and their impact can be reduced significantly.