Reducing the incidence of disability through creating
awareness of the dangers of distracted driving
#1Less spinal cord injury
Distracted driving is a contributing factor to the incidence of road crashes with resulting injuries, fatalities and disabilities. Greater awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, as well as the education of drivers on driver safety, would go a long way towards decreasing the high fatality rate on South African roads.
There are very few disabilities that are preventable - irresponsible driving leading to disability is certainly preventable.
It is a well-known fact that texting while driving is an increasing global trend, and South Africa is no exception. It is said that cellphones are responsible for 1.6 million crashes per year, causing over 500 000 injuries and 6 000 deaths.
According to the Automobile Association of South Africa, an international survey amongst 837 drivers with cell phones found that almost half swerved or drifted into another lane, 23% had tailgated, 21% cut someone off and 18% nearly hit another vehicle while using the phone.
Young South African drivers, especially, are far more likely than their European counterparts to be distracted by phone calls and internet use while behind the wheel, according to the results of Goodyear's third annual Road Safety Survey. The survey addressed the road behaviour of 6400 drivers under the age of 25 in 15 European countries as well as in South Africa. The survey showed that while new technology undoubtedly provides a particular danger, some of the most common behaviours contributing to distracted driving included -
• drinking (75% compared to the global average of 58%);
• eating (71% compared to the global average of 45%);
• looking at a map, changing GPS settings, shaving, putting on make-up, styling hair and even kissing (33%!)
• more traditional multi-tasking activities also continue to distract young drivers, with South Africans amongst the most easily misled.
Disability and fatalities arising from accidents caused by distracted driving is close to our hearts. There is not a moment to lose in doing all we can to curb the global rise in the incidence of disability.
We invite you to join us in working towards a safer transport environment, both for the road user and pedestrians. The direct impact this would have is to save lives in a time when just one life is too many. The emotional impact of this project is immeasurable - how do you measure the grief of a family who has lost a loved one due to a simple text message?
Help us to raise awareness by
• signing our pledge to not drive distracted;
• share it on your social media using the hashtag #1Less;
• encourage your family and friends to do the same.
I pledge that I will not endanger others as well as myself by –
• Texting or using my cellphone while driving;
• Programming my GPS or cellphone tracking device;
• Finding or changing the station on my car radio, or change CDs;
• Applying make-up or using an electric shaver while driving;
• Drinking or eating while driving.
Please join me in raising awareness on the dangers of distracted driving!