You might recall reading a few weeks ago on these very pages about our dreadful habit of using our phones while we’re on the road. We told you that it was a serious problems, and suggested a few ways in which we might get the behaviour under control.
Well, it seems that despite our intervention, the situation has gotten a lot worse. Data revealed by the RAC this week revealed that a whopping 47% of drivers between 25 and 34 made or received calls from behind the wheel – a 7% increase from the previous year. When we consider drivers as a whole, the figure was 25%: an increase of 1% from the previous year.
This is despite all of the increase in penalty points and fines we were talking about last time. Which just goes to show that when you’re addicted to something, a fine isn’t really enough. An RAC spokesman named Pete put the problem down to “some groups of drivers” – which we’re interpreting as a thinly-veiled dig at young people who can’t go five minutes without looking at a square-shaped photo of someone’s breakfast.
Texting and Social Media
Of course, some forms of phone usage are more damaging than others. If you’ve got a decent hands-free kit and your phone is connected via Bluetooth, then you can simply chat away just as easily as if you were talking to someone in the passenger seat. Of course, this doesn’t apply when you’re placing calls, as you’ll have to stare at the dashboard and scroll through your contacts list, which demands that you take your eyes off the road.
Far more dangerous, of course, is texting and social media, whose usage demands that you stare at the little screen and read messages. In the 25-34 age range, 36% of respondents to the poll reported that they checked emails, social media and text messages while on the phone. It’s more than a little disconcerting to think that more than a third of twentysomethings will happily scroll through Twitter while they’re driving along – so we’re going to interpret this charitably and say that of these few million motorists, most are only occasionally opening up their feed in the middle of dense traffic to see what Donald Trump has to say about the topic of the day.
In the 35-44 range, usage has soared to 29% – which is a rise of 10% on the year before. You might attribute this to the iPhone generation growing up and bringing their habits with them, but this figure had actually fallen the previous year, which implies that harsher penalties have actually coincided with a rise in mobile phone abuse.
So what’s the solution, here? All of the things we mentioned last time still apply. If we all moan like drains every time our mate starts swiping through Tinder when he’s changing lanes on the M1, then the problem might surely go away after awhile!