Driving while using a mobile phone can jeopardize the safety of the person behind the wheel as well as others on the road – this phone-hogging driver is a case in point.
A woman in Shenzhen, south China’s Guangdong Province, ran over three kids who were playing at a parking lot, as her eyes were stuck on the mobile screen and not the street.
And while the children sustained with non-life threatening injuries, the incident puts a spotlight on the hazardous use of cell phones while on the road.
Distracted driving is a serious and growing threat to road safety, and the increasing use of mobile phones and the rapid introduction of new in-vehicle communication systems have only escalated the problem.
According to the World Health Organization, a driver using a mobile device is four times likely to get into an accident. This risk appears to be similar for both hand-held and hands-free phones because it is the cognitive distraction that is an issue, not just the physical distraction associated with holding the phone. Text messaging appears to have an even more severe impact on driving behavior and crash risk.
In China, use of a handheld mobile phone while driving is prohibited and the country is putting more efforts to crackdown on distracted drivers.
Shanghai has started using road cameras to record drivers who use mobile phones while driving and has started to penalize them. Drivers caught using mobile phones while driving will be fined 200 yuan ($30) and two points will be placed on their driving record.
It is said that heavier punishment for distracted driving might be enforced in the near future.
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