Editor's Viewpoint: Drivers dicing with death over phones
The latest figures in a Government survey on driving habits show that 52% of people questioned have admitted to using their mobile phone in some capacity while driving.
A Department for Infrastructure report has shown that 14% of people surveyed have texted while at the wheel, and 10% have taken a call on a hand-held mobile phone.
These statistics are truly disturbing, particularly as a large majority of people admitted to being aware of the dangers of such behaviour. Some 91% acknowledged that using a phone at the wheel made drivers more likely to cause a crash, while 84% said such drivers were more likely to be involved in a crash.
And 82% admitted these drivers were less likely to notice dangers ahead.
It is truly shocking so many people are still prepared to break the law in this way despite the evidently high awareness of the dangers involved.
Despite the advertising campaigns depicting the agony of those bereaved, and the suffering of drivers and their families affected as a result of such accidents, the misuse of phones by thoughtless drivers continues to create major hazards on the roads.
The overuse of mobiles is one of the perils of our age. People seem to panic if they are separated from their devices for even a short period.
Please log in or register with belfasttelegraph.co.uk for free access to this article.
However it is appalling that people continue to use their phones to send text messages and to take calls while they are driving.
Sadly, however, the misuse of mobile phones is not the only hazard on our roads.
A total of 44% of people questioned have admitted to speeding on motorways, and 25% on dual carriageways, though this dropped to 4% in built-up areas.
Overall, it is difficult to understand why so many drivers continue to flout the driving laws in these various ways, despite police warnings that people using a mobile phone are four times more likely to crash.
A senior police officer has underlined that: "Absolutely nothing on your mobile device or social media accounts should come before your safety and the safety of others."
Despite this, the misuse of mobile phones continues.
Far too many people believe nowadays that they carry around their whole life on their mobiles.
How tragic it is if the misuse of these same mobiles while driving ends up costing people their lives or creating life-changing injuries.