Although the practice of using a mobile phone while driving has been outlawed in most countries it remains one of the leading causes of road accidents. In America alone almost 81% of drivers admit to sacrificing safety for the convenience of communicating with business associates, family or friends from behind the wheel of their car. UK surveys have found the same apparent apathy displayed by road users despite the soaring number of offenders who daily receive fines, penalty points and in some cases even prison time. Shocking statistics released by swiftcover.com, a motoring insurer, reveal just how big a problem this has become and the horrific level of disregard shown by so many for their own safety and that of others. As a deterrent this law is obviously having very little effect and some are now suggesting that if penalties are not working, then perhaps rewards may. Drivers who make use of the latest technology such as hands-free systems or Bluetooth headsets could soon find their responsible behaviour reflected in lower insurance premiums.
With more than 200,000 drivers currently being punished for mobile related offences and the steady 30% rise in that statistic recorded annually it is clear that the solution lies not in the law alone. The ‘black box’ technology which is currently persuading insurers to adjust insurance premiums according to the individual driver’s performance may soon not be enough. There is now a move afoot in the motoring insurance industry to encourage drivers to make use of smartphone technology. An innovative driving app which is downloaded to a driver’s own smartphone to record the individual’s driving patterns may soon revolutionise safe driving inducements even further. Unlike the ‘black box’ it is said to require only 200 miles of recording in order to establish a driver profile based on acceleration, braking and cornering. Drivers who are distracted are the ones most likely to offend, and using a mobile phone will definitely have a negative effect on driving performance. Bluetooth headsets and hands-free systems go a long way to eradicating this potentially fatal practice.
It seems only fair that conscientious drivers stop subsidising the irresponsible or downright reckless road users. If technology is available that distinguishes good drivers from bad, then making use of it should perhaps become a standard requirement either fitted inside a car, or on a smartphone. The sheer number of lives lost or devastated in road accidents surely warrants such a law particularly when current legislature is clearly failing. Motoring insurers are certainly leading the way in ensuring the greatest possible level of safety on our roads.
Do you use a bluetooth headset? Do you think a reward system will cut down on driving while talking using an actual phone?