Phone 'distractions' blamed for road deaths



JEDDAH: FADIA JIFFRY | ARAB NEWS STAFF

Published — Thursday 16 May 2013

Last update 16 May 2013 5:54 am

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Twenty percent of all road fatalities occur when motorists use their mobile phones while driving, according to the Traffic Safety Committee.
Eighty-four percent of vehicle accidents are caused by driver behavior, says the special traffic study.
It stresses on three main types of distracted driving.
Visual — taking the eyes off the road; manual — taking one or both hands off the steering wheel; and cognitive — taking the mind off what one’s doing.
Texting while driving is especially dangerous because it involves all three types of distractions.
The Ministry of Interior website states that the traffic violations of using cellphone while driving can lead to a fine not less SR 150 and two black points as per the Kingdom’s traffic laws.
Several motorists, especially teenagers, admit to using their mobile phones while behind the wheel.
Apart from just texting and answering calls, some motorists use their mobile phones while driving to browse the Net and use social networking sites.
“Although charging a fine for using mobile phones while driving is implemented in the Kingdom, there is no strict enforcement,” says Zubair Ahmed, a motorist.
“I have seen incidents where young motorists are distracted by the use of mobile phones while driving. They meet with accidents and cause damage to other cars and drivers around them.”
Ahmed adds that he is starting an awareness campaign to encourage and make people aware of the importance of safe driving.
A recent study conducted by Cohen Children’s Medical Hospital in New York found that texting while driving is the number one cause of death among teenagers who drive.
Last year, road safety experts rated Saudi roads as among the world’s most dangerous with an average of 19 road fatalities occurring everyday.

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