For the first time in many years the road toll has started to climb. After experiencing record lows in 2013 and 2014, the last two years (2015 and 2016) have seen the road toll steadily rise back up.
For every person killed on the road scores of others are seriously injured.
This is a shocking statistic and quite alarming when you consider that cars are becoming increasingly safer and roads more roadworthy.
Instead of lack of safety features in new cars or poorly maintained roads, this spike in road accidents has in fact been attributed to the widespread use of mobile phones whilst driving.
To use a mobile phone whilst hurtling along at speed is absolutely crazy, especially texting or reading e-mails instead of watching the road.
There are enough distractions in modern cars without the further and far more dangerous distraction of taking your eyes off the road to use a phone.
Research shows that even a split second spent looking at a mobile phone, rather than the road, can be the difference between a collision and a near miss. Penalties for driver who cause accidents because they are on their phones are escalating. In some jurisdictions such offences lead to prison sentences, particularly where serious injuries or death are involved.
However, it is not only drivers who recklessly take their eyes off the road. There is a mounting problem with pedestrians who stroll along looking at their phones, checking Facebook, Twitter, or their e-mails, rather than watching out for care. There has been a commensurate spike in pedestrian accidents, often leading to death.
The solution is very simple. Don’t answer your mobile phone whilst driving, unless you have a hands-free facility. Don’t walk across a road whilst looking at your mobile phone. Rather keep it in your pocket or bag and if you must check your phone, do so after you have reached safety.
If you or someone you care about has been injured in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation. To arrange your free, no-obligation assessment of your claim, please call Stacks Goudkamp on 1800 25 1800, or alternatively, make an online enquiry.
Written by Tom Goudkamp.