RAA concerned with increasing distractions

The Royal Automobile Association (RAA) is reminding all road users, including fleet drivers, to be careful with smart device use in vehicles.

This is a serious problem that is only getting worse according to the association's statistics. Last year, nearly half (44 per cent) of all fatal crashes and 55 per cent of accidents resulting in injury were caused by driver distraction in South Australia.

While smart phones have been commonplace for a number of years, the association is concerned about a new device arriving on the market - the Apple Watch.

RAA Senior Manager Road Safety, Charles Mountain explained fleet drivers can hide smartphones while they are out on the road in places such as the glove box or in their pocket.

"But if smart phone features, like texting and apps, are now moving to people's wrists, it's only going to make it harder for people to ignore that text message when it comes in," he said.

"Focusing on the important task of driving is already challenging for motorists."

Mr Mountain said it was important to limit smartphone and watch activity in the car because it can create a dangerous situation given the number of existing distractions in the environment. This includes other vehicles, loud music or fatigue.

"Looking away from the road for just 3 seconds on a busy city road, travelling at 60km/h, could mean your vehicle travels for 50 metres, or 5 car lengths," he stated.

"Imagine the damage that could occur in that time, whether a pedestrian steps out on to the road or a cyclist moves into the path of your vehicle, it could be deadly."

If an accident does occur as a result of driver distraction, it will be important that businesses have invested in fleet management software. This offers 24/7 incident management and means teams can come out to the location and ensure driver safety and process compliance.