UK: Ook handsfree is bellen tijdens het rijden gevaarlijker dan rijden onder invloed!

maandag, 25 mei 2009 - Categorie: Berichten Internationaal

Reeds eerder (op 1 maart 2009) berichtte Stopumts over dit onderwerp Berichten%20Internationaal/3385 . en opnieuw besteedt de Britse pers uitgebreid aandacht aan het fenomeen dat ook handsfree het rijden en tegelijkertijd mobiel bellen gevaarlijker is dan het rijden onder invloed!

Bron: De Telegraph 22 mei 2009

Road safety investigation

Think you're safe while making a phone call while driving? Think again. A laboratory simulation showed that the risks are greater than you might imagine.

By Mike Rutherford

Picture the scene: an exasperated pub landlord asks the police for assistance after a disturbance involving two of his regulars. One has imbibed several beers and is drunk. The other has been sipping orange juice and is sober. A cop arrives and diplomatically persuades them to quietly head off home in opposite directions. Job done, thinks the officer.

But then he sees the intoxicated customer climbing behind the wheel of a car before driving it away. At the same time he spots the sober customer driving off with the wheel in one hand and a mobile phone in the other.

The policeman can only pursue one offender, so who's it to be - the drunk driver or the motorist on the phone? I'm certain that he who drives sozzled is a more dangerous beast than he who motors along while on the phone. Or at least, I used to be certain of that.

If we're to believe the giant, highly respected Transport Research Laboratory, tucked away in the forests of Berkshire, using a mobile phone while driving is even more hazardous than drink-driving.

TRL researchers don't disapprove of mobile phones. They just want all drivers to switch them off and ignore them until journey's end.

And it's not just hand-held mobiles that the organisation has a major issue with. Surprisingly, it concludes that hands-free versions are almost as dangerous.

To prove the point, TRL invited me in for the night (our session started at 9pm) to let me loose on its latest, full-sized driving simulator. With help and funding from the car insurance giant Direct Line, this facility is doing more than any other in Britain - and possibly the world - to ram home the message that driving and phone calls don't mix.

My first solo run on the rolling road-based simulator was deliberately free of interruptions (I didn't even have the car radio on) and I was being closely monitored by senior researcher, Dr Nick Reed, from a neighbouring room. Dr Reed's conclusion was that I ''drove very well''. So far so good.

But minutes later, on my second run, I unwittingly transformed myself into a bad, dangerous driver by talking on a hands-free mobile. During a lengthy call, Dr Reed observed that I was ''less able'' to deal with basic driving tasks and that my lateral positioning (where I placed the car on the road) deteriorated. I lost the ability to maintain a constant speed and, worse still, the longer the call went on the faster I got, at one point reaching 85mph on a simulated motorway run.

Dr Reed has put countless guinea pig drivers in his simulator but he observed that my behaviour was particularly ''unusual'' and ''impatient'' when I attempted deep and long phone conversations while driving. He said that if I'd been on the road instead of in a simulator, I would have been four times more likely to have an accident on my second drive than my first one, which had no interruptions.

If you believe the research results, there is no doubt that using a hand-held phone while driving is potentially lethal and using a hands-free phone is almost as dangerous. Dr Reed has plenty of data to back up his views. The Mobile Phone Report by Direct Line, based on TRL research, spells out the dangers with alarming clarity.

The majority of drivers aged 21-45 who took part in the study admitted that it was ''easier'' to drive drunk than while using a mobile. The tests proved - in line with my own - that while drunk drivers are worse at staying in lane, drivers distracted by mobiles are much worse at maintaining speed and a safe distance from vehicles in front. Drivers' reaction times were, on average, 30 per cent slower when talking on a hand-held mobile compared with being drunk, and nearly 50 per cent slower than under normal driving conditions. If that's not enough, drivers using a hands-free or hand-held phone miss ''significantly'' more road signs than when over the drink-drive limit.

On average it takes hand-held mobile users half a second longer to react to a hazard, says the study. At 70mph this means travelling an extra 46 feet (14 metres) before reacting.

The distractions caused by making or receiving a call while driving aren't as obvious as you might think, and can be broken down into four categories, says the Direct Line report. They can be visual, auditory, mental (cognitive) or physical - or a combination of all four at once.

To make matters worse, drivers often take their eyes off the road when making and receiving calls. But isn't talking on your phone the same as talking to a passenger? No. Passengers tend to let the conversation ebb and flow, enabling the driver to concentrate on negotiating hazards.

Company car drivers are the worst offenders for phoning while driving, says the report and it's a myth that a quick call ''doesn't matter''.

A quarter of all mobile phone calls are made from vehicles and about 10 million drivers have admitted using a hand-held mobile while driving. Frighteningly, up to one in four young drivers use their mobile to send text messages, guaranteeing maximum physical distraction.

New evidence from the AA this week suggests that drivers are only too aware of the phoning-while-driving problem, but that many are unwilling to change their behaviour. The motoring organisation's latest research shows that two thirds of drivers expect to go to jail if they cause a fatal accident while using a phone. But at any one time 100,000 drivers are using a hand-held phone.

So is a driver who's talking on the phone really more dangerous than a drunk driver? I have my doubts. But either way, TRL has gathered apparently damning evidence that proves using a phone while driving is scarily close to the top of the danger league along with other serious motoring crimes and transgressions such as drunk driving, tailgating, travelling inappropriately fast, failing to wear a seatbelt and falling asleep at the wheel.

The Government's tired, over-simplistic ''Speed Kills'' campaign gives the impression that drivers who aren't speeding will be safe.

Nothing could be further from the truth, of course. You show me a motorist who's driving under the speed limit but talking on the phone and I'll show you a person who's heading to the scene of his own accident.


The fixed penalty for using a hand-held mobile phone is £60 plus three points. If the police or the driver chooses to take a case to court rather than use a fixed penalty notice, the maximum fine is £1,000, or £2,500 for drivers of vans, lorries, buses and coaches.

A Department for Transport-endorsed research study says: ''There is strong experimental evidence that engaging in a mobile phone conversation impairs drivers' ability to react to potentially hazardous road situations. The impairment appears to be greater than that associated with listening to a radio.''

Motorists can also be fined up to £2,500 and given from three to nine points in court if convicted of Careless and Inconsiderate Driving. This could include using a hand-held mobile phone but also actions such as eating, drinking, smoking, or even fiddling with a radio or satellite navigation device while driving.

If these actions led to a death on the road, the driver could be charged with Causing Death by Careless Driving, an offence carrying an unlimited fine and up to five years in prison.

Police can opt to prosecute motorists caught using hand-held mobile phones under the last two charges, if they believe a fixed penalty of £60 does not reflect the seriousness of the offence.

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