"It only takes 2 seconds"... to put lipstick on, drink a little water or have a laugh with the children sitting in the back of the car, but these short moments can still cause an accident.
This is the message in a new campaign to promote driving safely launched by mobility body Touring.
Organised in collaboration with the International Automobile Federation (IAF), the campaign is being distributed through films on social media throughout Europe.
Losing oneself in music, texting or kissing someone at the wheel are just some of the behaviours causing a driver to be distracted. Such distractions play a part in 5% to 25% of accidents, according to figures released by road safety bodies Vias and SWOV Nederland. Drivers are distracted in this way for 25% to 30% of time spent at the wheel.
"The law clearly stipulates that it is forbidden to make a telephone call while driving but, otherwise, only indicates that the driver must always be capable of handling his vehicle and is not endangering or getting in the way of other road users," Touring explained.
However, this kind of behaviour "considerably" increases the time it takes to react. "Drivers do not always drive in a very straight line, or they drive away too late when the lights turn green," the mobility body added.
Nearly 48% of car drivers still read an e-mail or SMS when on the move, according to a study conducted by the Flemish Traffic Foundation, whereas the danger of an accident is 23 times greater when a cell phone is used while driving, according to Vias and SWOV Nederland.
Aside from raising road-user awareness, Touring considers it would need at least 200,000 fines to be imposed each year to respond to these distractions, as against the 98,638 imposed in 2018. It is also calling for carmakers to install blocking devices for certain phone functions and applications that activate as soon as the driver takes hold of the steering wheel.
The Brussels Times
Photos: Fia Region screenshots