Calls, alerts, notifications … It is common for the phone to ring when driving and the temptation to spend a few seconds responding, even if it is to warn that you are behind the wheel. But in those seconds he will be distracted. And the mistrust on the road, according to the Directorate General of Traffic (DGT), are behind a third of fatal accidents. For this reason, the organism that Pere Navarro directs has launched on Monday the new road safety campaign in which he asks: "Who do you prefer to be? Who lives or who dies?" [en un accidente]. The campaign affects distractions at the wheel, such as the mobile, and is the preamble of the regulatory changes that will occur in the coming months to improve road safety
The smartphone is one of the main enemies of road safety and the organism that runs Pere Navarro compares its inappropriate use with the effects of alcohol on driving. A team from the University of Iowa, in the United States, simulated this situation and showed that if you answer a message while driving, it takes twice as long to recognize a new obstacle on the road. "Failure to maintain the attention on the road leads to track exits and collisions by reach," says Emilio de Diego, a professor at the Driving School of the Royal Automobile Club of Spain (RACE).
Raising awareness among drivers is one of the objectives of the RACE school, which launched five years ago #StopDistractions, a campaign to warn of the risks that are assumed if the mobile is used. More than two and a half million people acknowledge having used it without a regulatory handsfree, according to a RACE survey. Traffic warns that a driver can only talk by phone in the car if he does so using hands-free systems with Bluetooth connectivity. And nothing to pick up the phone to chat. "The hands have to be on the wheel," says the DGT. Although he recommends that the conversation be postponed until leaving the car. Since the card was established by points, in July 2006, Spaniards have lost 6.5 million of the 47 that have withdrawn since then.
However, phones are hardly used to make calls. According to the National Commission of Markets and Competition, the daily use of instant messaging almost doubled, at the end of 2017, to that of calls. It is used by six out of 10 Spaniards and they do it several times a day. What is a focus of distractions at the wheel. The RACE recommends on the web "create a car mode on the phone and configure the device or use a app to silence the messages. " The latest version of Apple's mobile operating system already has this mode. In Android, the Google system, there is no car mode as such, although there is a no-bother option that can be configured.
Jorge Castellanos is coordinator of road safety in RACE and assures by phone that it is necessary to review the card by points, since the arrival of the smartphones It has changed the habits of drivers. "Take the phone and send a message involves the loss of three points and throw something out the window, four. The first can cause an accident and the second, no, "he says. In their organization they advise to put in WhatsApp the state "driving". But always, they conclude, "the telephone can be silenced and placed in a place where it is not visible while driving." Castellanos adds that "new technologies are a reality" and asks vehicle manufacturers that the screens they integrate into Cars do not allow leisure to avoid distractions.
Technology as an ally
In recent years a very strong investment is being made to incorporate information technologies in cars, says Juan José Hernández, professor of mobile application development at SEAS. "The normal thing is that automobiles are the next case of implementation of the so-called internet of things. But until the autonomous car is a reality, an orderly transition must be made, "reflects Hernández, who says that there are already applications that silence calls and notifications so as not to mislead the driver, such as DriveSafe.
Castellanos assumes that the technology itself helps the driver if used properly. There are applications that warn of bad practices at the wheel: "They send acoustic signals to alert and use the sensors of the phone, such as the accelerometer and the GPS to detect swerves," says Hernández. The objective of this technology is to avoid images like those of the DGT campaign, which shows the death of a driver for using the mobile phone, while explaining the drama of the parents of the deceased. "But what's the matter, you'll be dead, you'll become a statistic," the announcement closes.