Driven to distraction - Road Safety Work

ITS contributed expert insight during the launch of UK Road Safety Week, with drivers being urged to ‘tune in to road safety’.

The University of Leeds hosted the launch of the campaign by road safety charity Brake, as it was revealed that 42,000 Yorkshire drivers have points on their licence for using their mobile phone at the wheel or being otherwise distracted.

Commenting at the launch event, ITS’ Professor Oliver Carsten said: “There is a huge amount of scientific evidence that distraction when you’re driving, whether talking on a phone – hand-held or hands-free – or being distracted by anything else, greatly increases your risk of crashing. This is because you need your full concentration in order to continually take in and assess risks as you’re driving. Many drivers believe they’re able to carry out a non-driving-related task without it affecting their driving, for example using a phone or eating a sandwich, but in reality this isn’t the case.”

In a series of appearances on the BBC, Professor Carsten and ITS colleague Dr Daryl Hibberd demonstrated the risks of distraction, using the University’s Driving Simulator.

Road Safety Week is the UK’s flagship event to promote safer road use, coordinated annually by the charity Brake and involving thousands of schools, communities and organisations across the country. The 2013 campaign calls on drivers to tune into road safety, to prevent appalling crashes caused by multi-tasking at the wheel. It is launched almost a decade after a ban on using hand-held mobiles at the wheel was introduced and coincides with an enforcement campaign.