By Jeremy Rochow
Last updated on: December 21, 2018 at 9:43 am
Changing the music while you’re behind the wheel, eating and drinking on your drive home, or shushing squabbling children while you’re sitting at the lights – they’re things people do every day. But did you know just how dangerous it can be?
Driver inattention is the biggest factor in fatal crashes in South Australia, causing close to half (41%) of the fatal crashes on SA roads between 2013 and 2017.
That’s 185 road deaths due to driver inattention, which includes everything from texting and talking on your mobile, to personal grooming and changing your music.
According to RAA Traffic Engineer Matthew Vertudaches, motorists need to change their habits to help reduce the road toll in 2019, and the best time to begin making alterations to their behaviour is the January holiday period.
“Looking away from the road for just 3 seconds while you’re travelling at 60km/h means you travel 50 metres blind,” Mr Vertudaches said.
“Imagine the damage that could occur in that time – it could be deadly. Motorists need to put their mobile phones in the glove box, and avoid eating or doing anything that will distract them from the important task of driving.”
Driving under the influence was the second-most common factor in fatal crashes in South Australia between 2013 and 2017, with 52 deaths on rural roads and 18 in metropolitan areas.
In rural areas, failing to keep left of country roads (38), disobeying give-way signs and falling asleep at the wheel rounded out the top 5.
Metropolitan Adelaide saw failing to give way, drunken pedestrians and failing to keep left make up the top 5 contributing factors for fatal crashes.
“Many of these contributing factors, including driving under the influence and inattention, can be avoided,” Mr Vertudaches said.
“Motorists need to make a conscious decision that when they’re getting behind the wheel they’re responsible for the safety of themselves, their passengers and other road users.”