RACQ warns about dangers of driver distraction

The RACQ is warning motorists to take care and to pay attention on the roads during the busy holiday period, and has released a new YouTube video highlighting the dangers of driver distraction.

The 2:27 long video shows drivers performing routine tasks such as eating, putting on make-up, chatting with passengers, txting, adjusting the radio and taking care of children in the backseat, culminating with the screech of a car's tyres.

According to RACQ senior road safety advisor Joel Tucker, there are three main types of driver distraction - visual, physical and cognitive.

The RACQ believes that driver distraction is now a bigger problem than ever; with 88 per cent of the organisation's 1.2 million members noting that it is a greater issue now than it was five years ago.

"More than 57 per cent of members have admitted to being distracted when adjusting stereo settings; 53 per cent when eating and drinking; and 23 per cent said they were distracted when entering GPS settings," said RACQ executive manager of technical and safety policy Steve Spalding in a statement released December 11.

"By taking your attention off the road, you are putting yourself at a greater risk of crashing and injuring not only yourself but others."

Driver distraction has now become such an issue that the RACQ has even taken the notable step of suggesting to the Queensland government that it be designated as the fifth 'Fatal Five' factor.

Currently, the 'Fatal Four' - the four biggest factors which cause incidents on Australian roads - are considered to be alcohol and drugs, fatigue, joining speed and failing to wear a seatbelt.

If you are a fleet manager concerned about the wellbeing of your drivers, it may be worth educating them on the importance of remaining focussed and attentive while out and about.

By taking simple steps such as pulling over to answer the phone and not diverting attention to other things while driving, motorists can help ensure a safer environment for all road users.

Alongside regular fleet maintenance, driver education is one of the best ways to help improve road safety, so consider passing on the RACQ's driver distraction warning video - which can be found here - to your drivers.