In the United Kingdom, motorists can be jailed for up to five years for using a mobile phone while driving. According to the Road Traffic Act of South Africa, 'No person shall drive a vehicle while holding a mobile phone or any other communication device' - the law is clear but needs to be backed by a vigorous enforcement campaign.
A study conducted by the Virginia Tech Driving Institute in America revealed that people who text and drive are 23 times more likely to crash! But, according to Johan Jonck of Arrive Alive South Africa, our local statistics are extremely limited because "few people admit to having been distracted by their phones - perhaps they are fearful of having their car insurance claims rejected."
IMPERIAL marketing executive Niki Cronje says, “Modern cellphone communication enables us to talk, text, fax, email and browse the Internet. The constant demand to ‘be available’ at all times means that many drivers engage while behind the wheel.” Texting while driving is as dangerous as driving drunk - studies show that people who text and drive are more likely to slow down or swerve in and out of lanes.Drivers who talk on their cellphones are four times more likely to be in an accident. Our roads are dangerous enough without having to add extra threats to our safety.
I-Pledge urges you to reduce your risk with these safety tips:
Despite advice from experts and the fact that using a cellphone while driving is illegal, many people still take the risk!
· Familiarize yourself with your cellphone's speed dial and redial features.
· Use a hands-free device: an earpiece, speakerphone or a phone cradle.
· Position your cellphone within easy reach.
· Avoid scribbling down notes or looking up phone numbers while driving.
· Keep conversations short and avoid social chats.
· Tell the person you are speaking to that you are driving and tell them you will call back when you are not.
Take the I-Pledge at www.ipledge.co.za