Distracted drivers - the stats that tell a grim tale

It happens to the best of us: your mobile phone vibrates in your pocket and a familiar chime tells you someone wants to reach you. Especially at those times when you are waiting on some news, the temptation for a quick check and a fast response is a little overwhelming.

For people who drive as part of their job, the temptation arises often, and it's easy to convince yourself that with your experience you can answer a quick text. For managers of fleet services, it's a constant worry.

However, we should all bear in mind and share with others a few statistics which prove that, regardless of driving experience, distracting yourself on the road is one of the most needlessly dangerous thing you can do.

Young drivers

A recent survey by online driving education website Aussie-Driver.com found that of surveyed drivers aged 18-25, none believed that being distracted by either eating, drinking, smoking or using an electronic device was the most dangerous thing to do while being behind the wheel.

In Victoria, this age-bracket accounts for nearly 15 per cent of all licence holders, though they make up almost one-quarter of all deaths on Australian roads. Drivers of this demographic, brought up in an age where communication is instantaneous, should be particularly conscious of the need to avoid distraction.

Like driving blindfolded

There's no time limit on reading a text message. If you're travelling at a standard highway speed of 100 kilometres per hour, glancing at a text message for one second means you have blindly travelled 28 metres before looking back up at the road. In other terms, if you're reading a text message for only four seconds, your vehicle has travelled around the length of a football field.

Distracted driving doesn't only have to be texting. Eating, drinking or even talking via a hands-free kit can seriously affect a driver's concentration.

Accidents are a serious concern for a fleet manager; an accident from employee negligence is a nightmare. Make sure your staff are reminded of the all-too-real dangers of distracted driving.