Monday, April 22, 2024

Dangerous habit


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USING cellphones while driving is one of the most dangerous of human errors and it contributes to road deaths each year.
This information was contained in a recent presentation by the Barbados Road Safety Association?(BRSA).
It was passed on to the mobile sales representatives of the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca at a driver enhancement project.
Secretary of the BRSA, Shelly Ross, said the information could be used as a way to “elevate road users’ knowledge”.
She noted: “We have over 400 serious accidents and over 8 000 with injuries every year and that is quite a lot for a small country like ours”.
Ross said the association advised against the use of cellular phones while driving but added: “Some of us are still going to try to drive and use our phones, which is why the new Road Safety Act will allow persons to use hands-free cellular phones and devices”.
David Wall of Market Connect Sales Service Incorporated did a demonstration on how the Blue Ant hands-free cellular phone device works.
“The hands-free option gives you the opportunity to be on the phone, without actually being on the phone,” he said.
Sharmane Roland-Bowen, BRSA president, explained that one of the aims of her Road User Enhancement Programme which targets drivers and pedestrians alike, was to enhance safety knowledge and reduce road accidents.
She said: “A car crash is when there are facts to explain what actually occurred, while in an accident there is a general explanation but no evidence to support it, which is what we are trying to move away from.”
Roland-Bowen said that for every 100 000 people in Barbados, 763 were injured in road accidents.
She discussed the five main factors which impacted on a safe driving performance, with the first being speed.
She said that speeding affected the human perception and reaction time; which was how long it took for the human brain to realise a potential danger and how long it took for the body to react.
Alcohol is also a very dangerous factor, she said. “Alcohol and driving slows your reaction time, blurs your vision, gives a false sense of confidence and increases your risk taking.”
Another major factor mentioned was driver fatigue and drowsy driving which she explained was “extra dangerous because it decreases your ability to judge your level of tiredness”.
The two other factors she mentioned were distracted driving and defensive driving. She described distracted driving as when you “take your hands from the wheel” whether to answer the phone, apply make-up and so on; and defensive driving as when “you are compensating for other’s mistakes and anticipating the actions of others”. (DG)

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