Sometime last year, I did a piece I titled the BlackBerry Craze. Before this piece, I had done a similar one titled, THE BLACKBERRY PHOBIA. If you are one of the serial offenders still in the habit of phoning behind the wheels, you need to do a rethink on that habit because of the new discoveries on distracted driving. That is why today, I wish to treat a topic I am sure will shock most motorists; - Daydreaming. This piece is not about the psychology of daydreaming but the dangers behind the wheels.
You may say you are a dreamer. You may equally say that everybody dreams, including my humble self. However, you are advised to put your dreams on hold until you are off the road. Remember that in my earlier piece, I warned about the dangers of using your phone while driving. But the new study claims that it is even more dangerous to daydream behind the wheels. Daydreaming, according to Wikipedia is a short-term detachment from ones immediate surroundings, during which a person’s contact with reality is blurred and partially substituted by a visionary fantasy, especially one of happy, pleasant thoughts, hopes or ambitions, imagined as coming to pass, and experienced while awake. There are of course many definitions but that is not my focus. There are also the good and the bad side of daydreaming. My concern in this piece is on the dangers you put yourself today on the road. When I warned against driving and phoning I told you, you are four times likely to be involved in a crashing in the case of daydreaming behind the wheels, the finding says you are five times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash because you were lost on thought, than if you were distracted by texting or talking on the phone.
A research conducted by Erie Insurance Group focused on the 65,000 fatal crashes that occurred in the US over the last two years, between 2011 and 2012 identifying 10 percent as the result of some form of distracted driving - in line with Federal and other insurance industry estimates. The research also surprisingly identified 62 percent of the crashes as the result of simply being lost in thought. That might mean failing to recognize a dangerous curve on the road, running into the back of another vehicle, surging through a red light or some other driver error. By comparison, only 12 percent of fatal accidents covered by the data were blamed on some form of mobile phone use. The results showed that rubbernecking-accounted for7percent,kids or other occupants-5percent,reaching for an object elsewhere in the car-2percent,while eating or drinking accounted for 2percent.This report follows a recent State farm study by the Detroit Bureau that nearly half of drivers under 29 use the Internet at least once a month while behind the wheels.
These findings are indeed confirmation that driving as postulated by the Road Society for the Prevention of Accidents, is a dangerous vocation that demands full concentration at all time
While you ponder this new discovery, I will like to do a rehash of my previous piece on blackberry just to refresh your mind- Some call it the new craze in town.For others,it is the vogue,the latest status symbol.It comes in all shades;blackberry bold,blackberry storm and blackberry curve.Truth is that this latest invention for freaky phone lovers is a delight to behold.For the mobile man,it provides all the tools to run your business on the move but for us in the Federal Road Safety Corps,blackberry is a killer because of the level of abuse seen daily on the wheels.I know I wrote about the phoning phobia over a year ago,but this craze doubles by the day and scares me stiff.Check out the average blackberry users especially the ones who own cars.One trait among them is their mannerism on the wheels even though a good number display gross ignorance of relevant traffic rules and a diehard penchant for violating these rules.
This trait is no respecter of sex, education, tribe or height or even looks. Whether the user lives on the highbrow Lekki, Ikoyi or Victoria Island, be it banana Island or maybe Douglas Road in Owerri, Imo State or even Nyanya in the Federal Capital Territory, the show off is the same. All BlackBerry users have their peculiar swag-attitude. Daily on the road,in all manner and shades of vehicle,they flout their new toy as they text,e-mail,chat,phone,browse the facebook and do all sorts in the name of displaying their new status. Some are bold enough to display this’’craze’’right inside the premises of the Federal Road Safety Corps and would go to any length to deny their act when caught. The major highways are not even spared by them despite the speed craze by most drivers. Even in the church during services, they do same.
Section 4;sub section z (ff) of the Federal Road Safety Commission, (Establishment act) of 2007, prohibits making or receiving phone calls while driving. In fact, it was because of this ugly trend that as Sector Commander in the Federal Capital Territory a couple of years ago that, I introduced a compulsory psychiatric test for such offenders at the national hospital, in addition to one-week public enlightenment. You would be shocked to know that a good number of those arrested were found mentally unstable.
Today, the use of phone while driving, reading and sending text messages on the wheel has become the vogue all over the country. In Abuja, it is the pastime for even drivers still struggling to master their grip on the steering. Here in Lagos, Kaduna.