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Old distractions as bad as new tech

Tue, 22 Jul 2014 00:00:00 -0700

DRIVERS are as much distracted by "old technology" as by new gadgets, according to a survey.

Adult passengers, twiddling with the radio and children in the car were the main distractions causing either a near-miss or an accident, the poll of more than 18,000 motorists found.

These three distractions came ahead of operating the sat-nav and talking on a mobile phone as the biggest reasons for lack of driver attention.

Other distractions included eating a sandwich, having a tea or a soft drink, texting and emailing.

Nearly all (87%) of those quizzed in the AA/Populus poll accepted it was a driver's sole responsibility to ensure that new technology did not cause distractions at the wheel.

The AA cited Government statistics for 2012 showing that driver distraction contributed to 88 deaths.

AA president Edmund King said: "Although human distractions remain the biggest in-car threat, the figures for sat navs and mobile phones give a warning for what might happen in the future as 'infotainment' and other technology become more commonplace.

"We are pleased to see the vast majority of AA members understand their responsibility when using this new kit, but that still leaves some who don't.

"There will also be the temptation factor, which makes it all the more important that manufacturers add 'smart' features to in-car equipment, such as making it unavailable to drivers when the car is moving."

By Peter Woodman, Press Association Transport Correspondent