The devastation that can be caused by distracted drivers is well known. But new research suggests motorists are distracted a shocking 7% of the time they’re behind the wheel.
The research has been conducted as part of an eye-tracking study by French carmaker Peugeot. It found that, during a 30-mile journey lasting one hour, drivers spent an astonishing two miles looking away from the road.
This equates to the length of 32 football pitches.
Police recorded 397 fatal incidents in 2016 which were wholly or partly attributable to a motorist’s “failure to look”, according to the Department for Transport.
Peugeot’s managing director for the UK, David Peel, said: “We all know the dangers of taking your eyes off the road, whether to adjust the radio or the temperature in the car.
“When you add the continued distraction of mobile phones, talking to passengers, something catching your eye outside the car and even eating or drinking a coffee, it’s easy to see how the average driver could be in control of a car yet not be looking at the road for over 3,350m in a one-hour journey.”
Using specialist glasses with six small cameras, Peugeot tracked the eye movement of motorists to map where the retina is looking every 0.05 seconds.
The Tobii Pro Glasses 2 have been used to provide data on 25 six-mile journeys, undertaken by different motorists in a variety of compact-SUV vehicles.
Road types and speed limits varied on the road involved.
A spokesperson for road safety charity Brake says driving is “a complex task” and requires a driver’s full attention to do so safely.
They added: “Attempting any type of activity that takes your eyes off the road increases your chances of causing a crash, and killing or seriously injuring someone.
“Our roads are busy places, and we would urge drivers to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel – it’s simply not worth the risk.”
Surprised at the amount of time you spend concentrating on driving? Take a look at some of the most distracting habits and see if you could be putting yourself and others in unnecessary danger…