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Mobile devices more of a distraction than a screaming child

A recent study has exposed the distraction and danger to drivers of just having a mobile phone in the car, with a fifth of participants in a simulator situation moving their eyes from the road for more than seven seconds after simply hearing their phone ring.The simulator study commissioned by esure car insurance reveals that motorists take 23% longer to respond to an unexpected occurrence on the road when trying to send a text message while driving – which equates to the vehicle moving 8.5metres ‘blind’ while driving at 70mph. This lag in reaction times proved larger than the increased reaction times of distractions of arguing children in the backseat (13%) or feeling stressed (4%).The simulator study further revealed that posting a short status update on, for example facebook - an everyday temptation to those with a smartphone - had various effects in driver performance mainly causing motorists to move across their lane to a greater extent (up to one metre more than in controlled conditions), being less consistent in following distance and driving closer to the vehicle ahead. These decreases in motoring performance occurred despite drivers slowing down – proving that a reduction in speed does not offset the true dangers of being on a smartphone and the dangers of updating a social networking status.

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Scottish safety camera figures

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) in Scotland has welcomed a reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured at safety camera sites following camera enforcement, but is concerned that some drivers are still not heeding the safety messages at 40-, 50- and 60mph locations.

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Britain’s dockers at risk

Britain's dock workers could be left without the specialist safety protection they need if plans to water-down safety regulations go ahead.The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) says proposals by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to axe safety rules specific to dockyards could have “tragic consequences”.“Five times more dock workers die than the national average for workplace deaths so the last thing the port industry needs is weaker safety measures,” said APIL president Karl Tonks.Under the plans, regulations which are specific to docks, such as those ensuring ladders are in place as a means of escape if workers fall into the water, will be scrapped and replaced with guidance.“Guidance isn't compulsory, and an industry as dangerous as this needs robust rules to protect its workers,” said Karl.

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Calls for Government to reinstate road safety campaigns

The latest RAC Report on Motoring has found that the number of 17-24-year-olds drug-driving has doubled from 5% to 9% in the past twelve months, and 13% of this age group have driven or been a passenger in a car when the driver was under the influence of drugs over the past year.

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