The use of mobile phone while driving is the cause of minimum, 30 deaths and 2500 injuries every year in Belgium, according to a study by the Belgian road safety institute (ISBR). “The reality is probably much higher”, notes ISBR. It is hard to quantify the risks of using the mobile phone while driving, however “we estimate that a driver runs a three to four times greater risk to be involved in an accident than a driver who is not using the mobile phone”, stresses ISBR. The risk even rises 23 times higher when the driver sends an SMS, as the driver is not watching the road from the distraction.
In 2016, there were in total 51,190 injured and 637 deaths from road accidents. According to the report, distraction plays a role in 5 to 25% of all road accidents. The estimate of 30 deaths and 2,500 injuries attributable to the use of the GSM is therefore at the bottom of the range.
People aged below 35 use their mobile phones most frequently while driving. According to an ISBR survey, 23% from this age group use their mobile phone at least once during each journey. “For the 35-54 age group, the number decreases to 20% and for the 55+, 8%, the institute reveals. In general, eight out of ten drivers use mobile phones occasionally.
In two out of three cases, the driver pulls out his phone to send an SMS, either before a red light or in front of a crossing. Other times, it’s to send an email or check their Facebook or WhatsApp.
While it may not seem dangerous to use the mobile phone while stopping for a red light, it is forbidden and affects traffic, causing traffic jams that could be avoided.