Published on December 15th, 2017 | by Amirul Mukminin


New Study by Ford Finds that Parents are the Most Distracted Drivers in Asia Pacific

Parents often worry about screen addiction for their children, yet the data shows that adults find it hard to disconnect too. According to a recent survey conducted by Ford Motor Company of drivers across Asia Pacific, parents are the most distracted group of drivers on the road.

43 percent of parents reported experiencing a distracted driving incident compared to 40 percent of people without children. Fathers were most likely to use their mobile phones while driving to make or receive a call or text (41 percent), use social media (27 percent) or read or watch something (26 percent), while 40 percent of mothers said they were distracted because of another passenger in the car.

The survey was conducted to provide data to help further understand distracted driving behavior and attitudes. It also coincides with the expansion of DSFL, Ford’s flagship corporate social responsibility program, which will grow to cover 11 markets across Asia Pacific in 2017 and will include a stronger focus on distracted driving.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 1.25 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes and between 20 and 50 million more people suffer non-fatal injuries. They found that drivers using mobile phones are approximately four times more likely to be involved in a crash than drivers not using a mobile phone.

Using a phone while driving slows reaction times (notably braking reaction time, but also reaction to traffic signals), makes it difficult to keep in the correct lane, and to keep the correct following distances. Sending a text message takes about 10 seconds, which is the equivalent to 280 meters on a highway when a car is going 100 kilometers per hour.

Mobile phone addiction
Not surprisingly, across all groups of respondents, mobile phones topped the list of in-car distractions, followed by other passengers and applying makeup. 54 percent of drivers in Asia Pacific say they try not to use their phones while driving, but end up doing so anyway.

Of the respondents who use their phone while driving, the most popular reasons were taking calls from friends or family (62 percent), being stuck in traffic or at a stoplight (59 percent), and answering work calls or emails (46 percent). Boredom is also a key reason, with 25 percent of millennials and 17 percent of parents admitting to using their phones while driving for no reason other than they had “nothing better to do”.

Bad weather and seeing a police officer are the top scenarios when people said they would never use their phone while driving. Worryingly, these outweighed the safety of others, with just 45 percent saying they wouldn’t use their phone when travelling with a baby or child and only 14 percent if they are driving with their spouse in the car.

Ironically, even though parents are the most distracted group on the road, they were also more likely than others to think the penalties for distracted driving should be tougher (67 percent) and were most worried that it would directly impact their lives (78 percent).

Investing in technology and programs to help reduce driver distraction
Ford has developed advanced technologies that minimize distractions from mobile phones. SYNC 3, the automaker’s innovative in-car connectivity system, allows drivers to use their voice to make a call, hear a text, listen to music and activate apps – all while keeping their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

Now in its tenth year, DSFL has offered free driver training classes for people across Asia Pacific, including young drivers, expected mothers, Uber drivers and farmers. This year, it will expand to cover 11 Asia Pacific markets, compared to nine in 2016, and will add more of a focus on distracted driving to its training material.

Ford is also launching a public awareness campaign to educate its Asia Pacific employees, customers and the general public about the dangers of distracted driving and pledge to park their phone and connect with life.

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