SINGAPORE — More than eight in 10 Singapore drivers (83 per cent) admitted to using their mobile phones without a hands-free kit while driving in the last 12 months, with the top reason being that they felt it was safe to do, according to a survey released today (Nov 5).
Yet, most of these drivers — 93 per cent of the 513 adult drivers surveyed — think it is unsafe when they see other people using their mobile phones when driving. In fact, if respondents were passengers in a car where the driver was using his mobile phone, nearly three quarters of them would ask the driver not to do so, the Samsung-commissioned survey found.
Highlighting the sense of complacency among drivers, the survey concluded that “this complacency is reinforced by the finding that only 16 per cent of drivers have been in an accident or had a near miss while driving because they were distracted by their mobile phones”.
Other common reasons for using the mobile phone while driving included feeling pressured to respond quickly to work, friends or family, feeling confident in one’s driving abilities and proficiency at multi-tasking as well as feeling the need to check one’s mobile phone.
“The use of mobile phones while driving stems from the misconception of the drivers, thinking that they are capable of multi-tasking,” said Adjunct Associate Professor Gopinath Menon of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, in Nanyang Technological University.
“This is untrue, as when a person does two tasks, in which both demand a certain amount of attention, multi-tasking is unsafe and impossible. When a driver is behind the wheel, he should concentrate on driving and avoid other distractions to avoid accidents,” he said.
To encourage safer driving behaviour, Samsung has developed the “Eyes on the Road” mobile app that helps drivers switch off mobile distractions when they get into their cars by activating the Drive Safe mode. The app will be available for download from Google Play for free from tomorrow and from Samsung Apps from Nov 18.
Using the app to calculate the distance travelled without mobile distraction, the first 135 drivers in each month to drive 200km without using their mobile phones, and first 50 drivers in each month to drive 1000km, 2000km and 3000km without using their mobile phones, can win up to S$120 worth of MSIG premium vouchers and Shell fuel vouchers. This runs from tomorrow until Jan 31.
Samsung also launched “The Road Comes First” campaign today, with the support of the Traffic Police and Singapore Road Safety Council.