A new game has been created to highlight the distracting influence of using a mobile phone while driving.
Servicing and repair company Kwik Fit has produced the interactive test to gauge how using a phone affects motorists’ concentration and reaction times.
The game puts drivers in a virtual car and asks them to react to a stop sign, first without any distractions and then again while answering driving-related questions on a mock mobile phone screen.
It then compares the reaction times to show how using a phone can slow down a driver’s responses.
Millions of crashes
The launch of the game is accompanied by new research by the firm which estimates that nearly three million drivers have left the road or been involved in a collision due to distraction caused by a phone.
According to the survey of drivers, seven per cent of them – equivalent to 2.7 million – have been involved in a collision or have veered off the road in the last two years due to using their phone, with some of them having done both.
Of those, just over a third had collided with another car while they were distracted from driving.
Breaking the law
Despite distractions causing so many crashes and near misses, plus the fact using a hand-held phone at the wheel is illegal, a quarter of drivers say they read texts, 20 per cent send them and 40 per cent make calls.
The study also found the dangerous behaviour was far more common among younger drivers. Eighteen per cent of those aged 18-34 admitted to having had a collision or veering off the road while distracted by their phone, and motorists in that age group are six times as likely to have read a text while driving, and almost 13 times more likely to have sent one than those 55 and over.
The findings come after a High Court ruling that could see the laws around mobile phone use rewritten to reflect modern phone functions.
Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, said: “It is alarming to see that so many motorists are still risking their lives and those of others by using mobile phones behind the wheel. There are already so many other distractions on the road that it is vital that drivers pay attention and remain focussed at all times.
“The aim of our game is to demonstrate how easy it is to lose focus when interacting with a phone when driving. We hope people will try this out and realise the danger they are putting themselves and others in and quit using their phone while operating a car.”