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Road Safety Charity Welcomes Police Crackdown

Road safety charity Brake has welcomed a recent police campaign targeting illegal mobile phone use behind the wheel.

The charity says the use of mobiles is a growing menace, especially as devices become more sophisticated. A recent survey revealed around half of drivers aged between 25 and 34 are taking huge risks by texting, using apps or going online on their mobiles when they are behind the wheel.

Driving is a highly unpredictable and risky activity, says Brake, and requires full concentration at all times. Drivers who divide their attention between their phone and the road are significantly increasing their risk of causing a devastating crash.

Reading and writing messages – whether texting, emailing or using apps or social networks – while driving is even more distracting than talking on a phone, as it takes your mind, hands and eyes off the road. Texting drivers’ reaction times are 35% slower and they also have poor lane control. One large-scale study found texting drivers were 23 times more likely to crash than a driver paying full attention.

A study of in-vehicle video footage estimated that 22% of crashes could be caused, at least in part, by driver distraction. It also showed that drivers who perform a secondary task at the wheel are two to three times more likely to crash.

“Younger drivers, especially those aged between 25 and 34, simply aren’t getting the message about the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving,” said Gary Rae, campaigns director for Brake. “Doing any other complex task while driving hugely increases your chance of crashing. These drivers are putting their own and other people’s lives in grave danger by taking this risk.”

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