Monday, 29 july 2019 | Redacción CEU
New likes in a random picture on Instagram, several voice messages sent by a friend on Whatsapp, the GPS's indications, a Facebook notification, new Linkedin contacts, another message in your inbox,... Smartphone users see how their daily activity is constantly interrupted due to the numerous alerts they receive on their mobile devices. This is a circumstance that may lead to many people being no longer able to resist the temptation to look at their smartphones and act recklessly in some contexts. One of the most serious examples is using cell phones while driving.
Both drivers and pedestrians have become increasingly reckless with the use of their smartphones. The statistical data supports this statement. The VI Distractions Report carried out by BP, Castrol and RACE, as part of their "Stop Distractions" campaign, has concluded that there is an exponential trend of dangerous attitudes related to smartphones in traffic. In particular, this study claims that, out of the 2,132 users which were surveyed, 12% admit using social platforms while driving on a regular basis. This percentage amounts to 17% when respondents are in the age range from 18 to 24 years old. Precisely, this age range matches that of the so-called digital natives.
If we compare these figures with those of five years ago, we observe that, compared to the current 12%, only 0.5% of the respondents claimed to use cell phones to check social networking sites while they were driving. These figures are also higher in other activities related to the digital world such as taking photos or recording videos (12% versus 1%), using a GPS (25% versus 7.7%), making hands-free calls (14% versus 12%) or using instant messaging (19% versus 14.4%). Undoubtedly, our change in technological habits has also been reflected in our driving behavior.
Be careful when crossing the street!
Two weeks ago, the Spanish Directorate-General for Traffic made public the data about the people who were killed and injured in traffic accidents in Spain during 2018. These figures reflected a slight decrease in the number of fatalities in the previous year, but also evidenced the increase in the number of dead motorists and pedestrians; specifically, 386 pedestrians: 149 on the road (46 more than the previous year) and 237 in the city (11 less than in 2017).
Therefore, it is not surprising that the study into distractions not only focuses on drivers, but also on pedestrians. According to it, 76% of Spaniards send messages or read them while crossing the street. In fact, 55% admit doing so frequently. Besides, 87% answer calls (63% do so regularly) and 57% listen to music (39% of them on a daily basis). Precisely, this latest data is really worrying if we consider that noise is key to warning pedestrians of the presence of vehicles. As we mentioned in a previous article, this is one of the reasons why both the European Union and the United States are beginning to implement regulations that force electric cars to emit noise.