Using mobile phones while driving leads to fatal accidents


Al-Watan newspaper

Using mobile phones when behind the wheel continues to be the most dangerous behavior a driver can engage in and something that can lead to a fatal accident. In fact, the number of accidents caused by drivers being distracted is on the increase. Traffic police are struggling to curb this practice.

The public and private sectors have launched massive campaigns to raise public awareness about the dangers and risks associated with this but to no avail. These campaigns remind me of the warnings on cigarette packets that “smoking causes cancer.” People read these messages and still buy cigarettes. The same thing is happening here. The general public has become aware of the dangers of driving while using mobile phones but they still carry on doing so.

Some drivers run through red lights. Although traffic officials have launched massive campaigns warning about the fatal consequences of running red lights, some drivers do not seem to care. I remember a campaign that focused on drivers who were paralyzed after running red lights and colliding with other vehicles. Those drivers would appear on TV and talk about the dangers of running red lights. However, people still carried on and did not care about the consequences. However, the practice stopped when the Ministry of Interior passed a law and Saher cameras came into use.

A study conducted by the King Abdullah Medical Research Center found that after Saher cameras were set up, the number of accidents caused by running red lights was reduced by 37.8 percent and that there were 20 percent fewer injuries. This would not have been possible without a deterrent such as Saher.

Another study showed that 80 percent of accidents were linked to the use of mobile phones while driving. You only have to be distracted for three seconds to have an accident. This is a very short time and that is why people who have accidents when using mobile phones do not remember how the accident happened. A US study showed that using mobile phones while driving distracts drivers and causes them to lose concentration.

Unfortunately, traffic officials are not exerting enough efforts to curb this. They should adopt technology similar to the type that China is using to catch drivers who use mobile phones when driving.