Johannesburg – Distractions while driving are one of the central causes of accidents on the road, and it’s getting worse with the increased use of smartphones and other electronic devices in the car.
A road-safety study by insurance company Allianz reveals that distractions double the risk of an accident. The Allianz Center for Technology (AZT) study surveyed 1600 car-drivers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland and found that the risk of an accident increases significantly when drivers focus more on technical devices and less on the road. About 60 percent of drivers who had accidents in the past three years reported using their cellphones manually while driving.
In Germany, accidents caused by distractions killed 350 on the roads last year, even more than the 256 people who died in an accident with someone under the influence of alcohol.
“This result does not come as a surprise to us,” says Delphine Maïdou, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) Africa CEO and President of the Insurance Institute of South Africa (IISA). “The more varied the technology and the more complicated its operation, the greater the distraction from road traffic and the more dangerous the driver is.”
According to the Allianz study, every second driver commits cellphone violations (46 percent), and approximately three quarters of the respondents report being regularly distracted by the use of built-in technical devices in the vehicle (74 percent). Nearly 40 percent of respondents operate the navigation system while driving, and 58 percent use the radio function via the dashboard menu.
Fifteen percent of all drivers type text messages and 24 percent read them using their smartphone. Among the participants up to 24 years of age, this proportion is significantly higher as 23 percent of the respondents in this age group type text messages while driving and 27 percent read them. Twenty nine percent (of all ages) report checking their cellphones to see who has contacted them.
In South Africa the major cause of road deaths (58 percent) is alcohol-related, but a significant 25 percent of accidents are caused by the use of mobile phones, says Allianz.
“The country is among the worst for texting while driving which contributes to distracted driving being an epidemic sweeping the roads,” said an Allianz spokesman. And although the use of mobile devices while driving is against the law, local authorities are still taking distracted driving less seriously whilst it is receiving much attention internationally.
Thatcham Research has announced the safest new cars of 2017, and long list of finalists for the What Car? Safety Award.
This year’s tests have identified that there is more choice than ever in choosing a safe car.
The list of ten cars taken from the 2016 Euro NCAP ratings, all meet the strict criteria for the award, which includes track-based testing of collision avoidance systems and achieving top marks in crash tests – all part of the 5 star rating system.
Safety technology fitted to the vehicle must include: AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking) fitted as standard and some form of Safety Assist technology beyond NCAP assessment such as lane keeping systems. The cars are then judged on market relevance and value for money. All 2017 long list finalists also feature Pedestrian, low speed City and high speed Inter-Urban AEB as standard.
The 2017 long list includes:
Alfa Romeo Giulia
All vehicles included in the long list are similar in terms of specification and purchase price, with the Mercedes- Benz E-Class being the only more-expensive executive vehicle of the list. Thatcham Research is committed to driving the adoption of safer cars at all price points, not just higher list price vehicles. The 2016 commended vehicle, the Honda Jazz, was highly praised as the first supermini to offer AEB as standard across all trim lines, at an accessible purchase price.
The long list also includes vehicles which feature innovations which go above and beyond the current Euro NCAP testing, and offer major safety benefits.
Thatcham Research Chief Executive, Peter Shaw, said: “These ten vehicles represent some of the safest cars on sale in the UK today, and we are delighted to see that by raising awareness of the important issues surrounding vehicle safety, manufacturers are starting to rise to our challenge of fitting safety as standard across all models, regardless of segment or price.”
The winner of the What Car? Safety Award 2017 will be announced on 11 January 2017.
Part of what we do as an Approved Driving Instructor is to sell ourselves and our business to our potential learner drivers here are some tips that might help.
1 Be positive and enthusiastic
2 Listen to what the clients wants
3 Help more than sell
4 Be expert but don’t talk down
5 Build trust, but never say ‘Trust me’
6 Give the client a story to tell their peers that shows that they bought smart and got a good deal
7 Focus on benefits to the client, not features of the product
8 Give the client time and space
9 Make it simple for the client: avoid confusion through too much choice
10 Learn from your mistakes as success will often be built upon failure
Allowing learner drivers on motorways
Learner drivers will be able to take driving lessons on motorways before passing their driving test under new plans.
Learner drivers would need to be accompanied by an approved driving instructor (ADI) in a car fitted with dual controls.
Better prepared drivers
The changes will allow learner drivers to:
Find out more about how the proposed changes will work and give your views.