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Focus on the biggest road safety risk

Focus on the biggest road safety risk

Inattention and distraction are not recognised as the major threats they are on the road, says the Automobile Association.

Tomorrow marks the start of 2014’s Road Safety Week and its focus this year is on the need for people to pay full attention on the roads.

“People need to understand that crashes aren’t just about speeding or drink driving,” says AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“A huge number of crashes that leave people dead or injured involve a law-abiding, sober driver being momentarily distracted or not seeing something on the road around them. The AA believes distraction is the biggest road safety risk.”

A major US study* that recorded 42,300 hours of real-world driving found that 80% of crashes involved driver inattention in the three seconds before the incident.

Some of the common causes of driver distraction in crashes are things like talking with passengers, using cellphones, reaching for something within the car and dealing with animals or children.

“It’s human nature that we will all lose focus or get distracted occasionally but the key thing is to recognise when it happens and quickly refocus. It’s good to remind ourselves that one moment can be all it takes for a tragedy to happen,” says Mr Thomsen.

“For drivers it’s about keeping your eyes and mind on the road, not using your cellphone and not trying to do other tasks while you’re driving. Keeping at least a 2-second following distance is really important as well, so you have more time to react if something unexpected happens.”

“Staying focussed is just as important for pedestrians and people riding bikes to remember as well. About half of the crashes where pedestrians are hurt involve someone moving out on to the road heedless of the traffic.”


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