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17 August 2009

JST CR@SH3D – Driver danger as BlackBerry addicts email at the wheel

  • Research uncovers worrying new ‘crashberry’ trend among UK drivers
  • 20% of motorists use BlackBerry while driving
  • Five seconds is average time drivers take eyes off road

Talking on a mobile phone at the wheel is so dangerous it has been likened to drink driving and is illegal in the UK, however a worrying new trend shows motorists are trying to avoid fines by turning to their BlackBerrys and emailing instead.

New research from Autoglass has found that one in five (20%) UK motorists regularly read emails and fiddle with their BlackBerry while driving.  These reckless drivers confess to taking their eyes off the road for a terrifying five seconds at a time – long enough for a car travelling at 60mph to cover 135 metres or 34 car lengths.  This is twice the typical stopping distance needed for this speed (73 metres).

The research found that younger drivers are the worst offenders, with over a third (37%) of under-18s admitting to ‘crashberry’ behaviour, compared to just seven per cent of 46-50 year olds and six per cent of 51-55s.  Half of this younger age group confess to taking their eyes off the road for over six seconds at a time, posing a huge threat to other motorists on the road.

Twice as many men (29%) as women (15%) are guilty of it and it’s London, the country’s business hub, where most offenders can be found.  In the capital over a quarter (26%) of drivers admit to using their BlackBerry at the wheel, with two fifths (43%) saying the drive home from work is when they are most distracted.
 
Nigel Doggett, managing director of Autoglass, says: “A clear view of the road and other vehicles around you is vital for driving safety.  Once a motorist takes their eyes off the road they not only run the risk of missing junctions or drifting out of their lane but of causing potentially fatal collisions with other road users.  No matter how urgent an email might be it isn’t worth compromising on safety.”

Autoglass is the UK’s leading vehicle glass repair and replacement service, with 109 branches nationwide and 1,200 mobile service units.  For details of your nearest centre call 0800 36 36 36  or visit www.Autoglass.co.uk.

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