What distractions are acceptable when driving

Dangerous distractions

Experts say that one in ten fatal road accidents is caused by driver distraction. In Germany, 256 of the more than 3,200 accidental deaths in 2016 died due to drunk driving. Significantly more people (around 350) died in accidents involving technical distractions.

Haug notes that until the 1970s it was still acceptable to sit behind the wheel even after a few glasses of wine. After more than 20,000 accidental deaths in 1970, the German government introduced a speed limit on country roads; a year later, the maximum blood alcohol level allowed while driving was reduced to 0.8 per mille.

“When it comes to alcohol, attitudes have changed: Drunk driving is no longer socially acceptable. We have to take the same stance with regard to the use of smartphones at the wheel, ”Haug demands. "Our study makes it unmistakably clear that you endanger human life if you use your cell phone while driving."

According to the survey, almost every second driver violates applicable regulations by using their smartphone. Three quarters of those surveyed admitted that they are regularly distracted by their vehicle's built-in technology, and 39 percent said they manually operate the navigation system while driving.

Every fourth driver reads and 15 percent answer text messages while driving. For young road users up to the age of 24, this rate is up to 27 percent.

Studies in other countries have shown similar results. A report from a 2015 US survey of 1,211 drivers found that nearly 60 percent of respondents had read or written text messages behind the wheel in the previous month. In addition, a strong correlation between these results and the accident rate was found.

In addition, vehicle accidents account for nearly a quarter of all teenagers and young adults who died between the ages of 15 and 24 in the United States. According to US statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2015 more than a third (36 percent) of all distracted drivers involved in fatal accidents were between the ages of 15 and 29.