Phone use on roads a bad call
THINK drink driving is dangerous? So is using mobile devices while on the road.
According to a study by AXA Insurance Singapore, which polled over 450 road users, mobile-device usage while driving ranked among the most unsafe driving behaviour here, next only to drink driving.
Some 90 per cent of respondents indicated that they found text messaging on the road a dangerous driving practice.
Checking mobile phones and tablets for updates while driving came in third.
Interestingly, when asked about their own dangerous driving behaviour, more than one quarter of the respondents admitted to checking mobile devices or tablets frequently while driving.
Close to 40 per cent of the respondents also indicated "answering the phone without a hands-free kit" as something that they do on the roads.
Other dangerous driving behaviour that the respondents admitted to included running an amber light and driving at more than 10kmh above the speed limit.
Joel Yang, of Sim University's School of Human Development and Social Services, said: "Many continue to use their phones while driving because they have never been in an accident because of it. In our fast-paced society, where people expect immediate responses, people are compelled to always be contactable on the go."
Last year, the number of summonses issued for phone-and-drive offences increased to 3,568, from 2,938 in 2012.
First-time phone-and-drive offenders can be fined up to $1,000, jailed up to six months, or both. Repeat offenders may get up to double the penalty.
All offenders will get 12 demerit points, and their mobile phones will be seized.
Over in the United States, mobile-phone use by novice drivers is banned in some states.
Corporate relationship manager Ryan Ng agrees that most drivers would not think using their phone is dangerous until "something happens to them".
The 26-year-old, who works in a bank, recalled the time his friend got involved in a car accident because he had been texting while driving. "After that, he said he would never text while driving again," Mr Ng added.
AXA also launched a free mobile app called AXA Drive to promote road-safety awareness yesterday.
Said chief corporate responsibility officer Kwek-Perroy Li Choo of AXA Singapore: "It is important that drivers recognise the habits that can be dangerous to other road users, and that...safety on the roads largely depends on them."