An alarming road safety trend: Almost half of South African motorists drive 'blind'

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Motorist using a cellphone while behind the wheel.
Motorist using a cellphone while behind the wheel.

• The phenomenon of inattention blindness occurs when drivers use their phones while driving.

Statistics show that, on average, 40% of drivers at any given time, are on their phones.

South Africa has one of the highest motor vehicle accident rates in the world.

For more motoring stories, visit Wheels24.

Imagine you are driving through congested traffic navigating power outages, law breakers and the general chaos associated with peak hour driving in South Africa.

In the same breath, imagine that almost half the drivers navigating these challenges with you are all driving blind. According to statistics, on average, 40% of drivers at a given time are on their phones.

Alarming statistic

The phenomenon of inattention blindness occurs when drivers use their phones while driving. A large portion of the drivers, or if drivers are willing to be honest, they themselves, are driving over 90m every so often with the same attention and vision capabilities of someone wearing a blindfold.

With the introduction of advanced convenience features in vehicles, do you think it adequately assists the driver where cellphones are concerned? Email us, or please leave a comment below.

A driver experiencing inattention blindness can look straight at a stop sign or pedestrians but not consciously register those items or individuals at all. This distraction continues for a few seconds after one puts the phone down again. The question that needs to be asked, do you want to either be a driver like this or share the road with such a driver?

Motorist using a phone while driving
Motorist using a phone while driving.

Continuing research on the topic of the dangers of distracted driving by the World Health Organisation suggests that the growth in the use of cellphones in cars increased by up to 11% across a number of countries in the last five years.

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For this reason, MasterDrive investigated new technologies to assist with this challenge. They've consequently entered into a partnership with the creators of the ping app which reads messages out loud for you. This allows drivers to continue with the task of driving while still receiving communication from colleagues and family members.

An important ping

According to ping co-founder Barrie Arnold, he says the struggle to ignore one's phone, even for a limited period, was a major motivation in the creation of the app.

"In our 'always-connected world' messages continue to stream in even when driving. We all know the dangers of distracted driving, yet 88% of drivers risk it anyway.

"Ping is a patented voice-based app that eliminates the 'urge' to check phones by automatically reading WhatsApp, SMS, email and all other messages out loud, so drivers can stay focused on the roads. Drivers reduce the stress of not knowing and avoid the frustration of missing a message that could change their plans. Save time, money and lives with MasterDrive and ping," says Arnold.

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