Motorists highlight misuse of smartphones while driving
By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Sept 23, 2016
DUBAI: Life in the UAE has been blissful with ubiquitous technology morphing everyday life into a constant connection with friends, colleagues, relatives or social groups; but the use of such technology especially by motorists has raised some massive concerns.
Government agencies in Western countries have already tightened laws for motorists, ensuring their safety as well others.
Likewise, the UAE government through its various agencies also took serious measures to deter people from using their mobile phones while driving.
Talking to The Gulf Today, motorists from different sectors shared their concerns with readers.
Souraya Halloway, Marketing Manager at Cravia Inc, said that texting while sitting behind steering wheels is always a dangerous act.
“Motorists nowadays, when alerted about the threat of texting while driving, would reassure you that they can manage it pretty well, thinking that they are different from other people,” she said.
She pointed out that drivers, especially the youthful ones, think they are like superheroes and believe they can manage both tasks at the same time.
“People do not understand how hazardous this is. The lack of concentration is evident when they focus their attention away from the road while using hand-held devices or texting,” she added.
Pointing to the danger as well as the severity of punishments like fines, she mentioned that since we tend to be constantly connected to our phone, we should take advantage of driving time to enjoy one of the simpler pleasures of life: listening to good music.
Jess Santos, a Dubai resident who works in a multinational firm, asserted that motorists should be more conscious and drive with responsibility, as any mistake could harm or cause untold misery to others.
“Being on busy roads, we observe almost 70 per cent of smart phone users on their mobile phone while driving.
“A large number of drivers text while they are behind the wheel.
“We all have a part to play in ensuring our family and friends do not use their phones while driving,” he maintained.
Reem Masswadeh, a Dubai resident, said: “People, especially motorists, think they can manage multi-tasking and use their phones while driving.
“However, researchers suggest that our brain is not capable of fully concentrating on two things simultaneously.
“If you are texting or engaged in a cellphone conversation while driving, that leaves your brain with less cognitive load to focus on driving.”
She told that it is dangerous enough to make a phone call while driving, but texting is even more dangerous, as both eyes and hands are not focused on the road.
“The solution is in our hand to stop this dreadful habit; as a community we should give new drivers simple, clear instructions not to use their phones while driving.
“We should also lead by example; so if we need to text or talk on the phone, pull over to a safe place.
“If you think you have years and years of driving experience, think again as it only takes a second to get into an accident,” she pointed.
Ali Alotebi told The Gulf Today that the majority of drivers ignore the danger; sadly this not only puts their life in danger, but that of other road users as well. In order to drive safely, drivers need to devote their full attention to the road, to be prepared for any potential accidents that could arise.
“Using their mobile devices not only reduces their preparedness, but also distracts them from driving safely and not being a danger to other cars on the road,” he said.
He further said that the importance of safe driving does not mean the negation of the importance of owning and using a mobile device. Instead attention and focus needs to be on educating people on how to use these devices in a way that brings no harm to anyone.
“Using technologies that have facilitated this is easy. Options such as Auto-Text or Phone Car Kit, and hands-free headsets can be utilised to ensure safety,” he added.