12 February 2010

Children More Dangerous Than Mobile Phones

Felix and Daddy in Chatellion Plage
Children are more dangerous than mobile phones

There is a lot of focus in Denmark and elsewhere about using mobile photos whilst driving. It's the cause-du-jour at the moment, it seems.

A report from the Technical University of Denmark [DTU] was published yesterday that shows that talking on the mobile occupies a third place on the list of dangerous things to do whilst driving.

The researchers estimate that a third of all traffic accidents are caused by lack of attention.

According to the report, talking with others in the car is more dangerous and most likely to remove the driver's focus on the traffic. One sixth of the accidents caused by lack of concentration [aren't ALL accidents caused by lack of concentration?] are because the driver had contact with passengers. Especially children in the car are a major distraction.

Next on the list is adjusting the radio or music system. In third place it's the mobile phone. In fourth it's adjusting the car's climate system and in fifth place it's drivers eating or drinking at the wheel.

Senior Researcher Mette Møller from DTU Transport believes that the new data should be used in future campaigns:

"What it is that distracts us isn't important. The circumstances are are equal. If you're driving on clear roads in light traffic it's okay to eat a sandwich. On the other hand it can be dangerous to engage in conversation with your passengers or listen to music blasting at high volume if you're driving in heavy traffic."

Personally, I would have hoped that their conclusions were the necessity of further investment in public transport and positive campaigns to encourage more citizens to choose the bicycle. I'm realising that such things are increasingly occupying space in my wishful thinking box.


WestfieldWanderer said...

"... I'm realising that such things are increasingly occupying space in my wishful thinking box."
Mine, too.

Drunk Engineer said...

In the US, parents are required to keep kids in the backseat (strapped to carseat). This was due to "studies" which show backseat is safest location in case of collision, and because airbag can kill child in front seat.

But do such studies take into account the distracted driving which results, as parental driver is always turning around and dealing with the kid(s) in the backseat while trying to drive? Probably not.

Kim said...

I have always considered those "Child on Board" sign driver put in their cars, as a warning to other that the driver is not paying attention to the road.

stuart said...

"... I'm realising that such things are increasingly occupying space in my wishful thinking box."
I would wish for you patience. Keep beating the drum. It'll eventually sneak into people's consciousness...

Brent said...

One wonders whether the term should be "accident" when the crash was caused by something preventable and even predictable.

Green Idea Factory said...

Yes. Yes, please! I agree with what Brent said about "accident": In the realm of surface transport it should only be used when quoting a specific source.

Certainly, all this distraction stuff is an argument against any urban automobile driving.

Urban transportation: "Automobiles" are simply a type of rubber-tyred road vehicle. "Cars" are inappropriately-used automobiles. Driving a car is like using heroin. Driving a shared automobile (shared amongst many drivers, formally or not) is using methadone. Riding a tram, bus, or metro/local train is coffee or alcohol in modest proportions. Walking or riding a bike (skateboard, kick scooter, etc.) is one continuous orgasm.

Green Idea Factory said...

Mikael: You and Marc Van Amsterdamize - along with the best local cargobike makers in both towns - could organise a "Distract This!" event where you put children, dogs, chickens, etc. on the bikes and have them maintain a continuous conversation and even fight a little etc. in traffic or on crowded bikepaths in order to prove a point about how much frikkin safer it is to carry kids in bikes than cars. (Perhaps partner with DSB, Dutch Railways, etc. in relation to longer, non-distracted trips).

Sort of a follow-up to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cy0UmakZck

Also see: http://www.madeformums.com/mums-and-dads/children-a-driving-distraction/1532.html

Erik Sandblom said...

Here's some more media coverage:

Larmende børn, mobiltelefon og radioen giver trafikuheld