You’re not driving intoxicated, why are you driving INTEXTICATED?
Research shows texting while driving slows driver reaction three times more than driving under the influence of alcohol.
While you may think yourself to be a law abiding citizen who lets sober friends or cab service take the wheel when you’ve had one too many, remember that it is also against the law in South Africa to operate your mobile phone while driving, unless you’re using a hands-free device.
Traffic authorities describe distracted driving as an epidemic sweeping our roads with South Africa having one of the highest road accident rates in the world. And, research shows around 25% of these accidents are caused by cellphone use while driving.
According to Discovery Insure, two-thirds of drivers still make cellphone calls while driving despite legislation prohibiting it.
OFM wants to help you kick this dangerous habit. These days there are many smartphone apps available to help drivers avoid texting and driving. The latest operating systems also have driving mode do-not-disturb features. If you have then, enable them.
Free Apps Available on Android
Drive Safe: Automatically silences your phone while driving, so you wont be distracted by your phone ringing while you are driving and sends an Auto Replies to incoming calls and texts to say that you're driving. Download here
TextDrive - Auto responder / No Texting App: Can be used for safe driving, meetings, good sleeping, etc. Just turn text auto responder on and it will run in the background and auto reply to calls and texts. Download here
BAZZ: a 100% hands-free app that enables you to listen to your incoming text & voice messages and reply via a simple, intuitive voice commands in different options. Download here
In-A-Minute Driver's Auto Reply: When a text message arrives, In-A-Minute uses your phone's GPS to check your speed. If you are travelling over a certain speed, it replies with a message you can set. Download here
Watch this video of dashboard cameras capturing just how dangerous distracted driving can be, notice how many of the drivers were texting before their crashes occurred.
What’s The Risk?
When texting, drivers are distracted by taking their hand off the wheel to use their phone, by trying to read small text on the phone display and by thinking about how to write their message.
• Text messaging drivers spent up to 400% more time with their eyes on the phone instead of on the road.
• The reaction time of a texting driver deteriorates by 35%.
• When texting, you tend to wander across the lane.
• It takes an average of 2.5 seconds to check your cell phone while driving therefore when travelling at 100km per hour you will travel the length of a rugby field ‘blind’.
• Texting reduces the ability to maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle in front.
What’s The Law?
According the National Road Traffic Act Regulation 308A, no driver is permitted to use a hand-held communication device while driving.
• This includes a cellphone, microphone or other communication device.
• You may also not use the cellular phone at traffic lights even when the vehicle is not moving – if the engine is running you are considered to be driving.
• You may use such a device ONLY IF it is NOT being held in your hand or with any other part of your body.
• Transgressing the Rules of the Road includes taking photos, browsing the internet and participation on social media platforms when driving.
• Officials are no longer exempted.
What Can I Do?
The value of a cell phone lies in having it available in the car and not in your hand whilst driving. Avoid texting and driving by:
• Using a hands-free device
• Keeping your cell phone out of reach
• Switching off your phone
• Keeping both hands on the steering wheel
• Using voice activated apps
• Pulling of the road to take/make calls and read/send text messages
Call 0861 400 800 to report reckless driving.
Sources: Automobile Association of South Africa, Arrive Alive, Businesstech, Discovery Insure, Road Traffic Management Corporation
Keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. Don’t let a text take a life. Pledge not to text and drive. OFM Traffic, keeping you safe on the road.
Pledge not to text and drive here: