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Phone or drive? Soon you’ll have to make the choice

28 Nov 2012 | By INSERM (Newsroom) | France

The French Minister of Home Affairs, Manuel Valls, set up the new National Road Safety Policy on 27 November.  It is to be chaired by the Socialist Party Deputy of the Bas-Rhin, Mr. Armand Jung. This “road safety parliament” so to speak will be responsible for making suggestions to the Government on how to combat road violence and make road checks in order to assess the actions taken each year. The debate concerning the use of mobile phones while driving will once again come into the spotlight.

After being contacted by the Road Safety and Traffic Delegation in 2011, Inserm decided to work jointly with the French institute for road, transport and network sciences and technologies. They carried out a collective survey named “Phone and Road Safety”, aimed at measuring the effect on road safety of using a phone, or indeed of any other distractions, while driving.

For the first time ever, a group of experts drew up a complete report based on world-wide scientific publications on the risks of accident incurred by using a mobile phone. The report confirmed the dangers of use a phone while driving.

The complete report revealed the following:

  • InFrance, almost fifty percent of drivers use a phone while driving (either a regular mobile, or a hands-free kit).
  • The added risk of suffering material damage or injury by using a phone while driving is 3 times greater than for a driver who does not use the phone.
  • Talking on the phone while driving seriously modifies visual behaviour.
  • Hands-free kits and regular mobiles incur almost the same level of distraction, because having a phone conversation distracts the driver’s attention.
  • InFrance, almost one in ten cases of injury in road accidents involves the use of a phone while driving.
  • There have been very few attempts to perform cost/benefit analyses of prohibiting the use of the phone while driving, and these analyses are all North American.

Find the press pack and the whole report (in french)

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