North East Connected


The dangers of driver distractions are highlighted in an online seminar published today by GEM Motoring Assist and Westcotec.

Speaking during the seminar, Westcotec managing director Chris Spinks points out that we have all relied on digital communications during lockdown, and warns that many drivers are likely to find it hard to leave their devices alone once restrictions of movement are eased and they can get back behind the wheel. 

“There will be a lot of people who haven’t been driving for weeks,” he says. “We have all come to rely on digital technology taking the place of most face-to-face contact. That’s why we are concerned that this will become a new norm and that too many drivers will ignore the distraction risks of using their devices when they get back behind the wheel.”

Chris Spinks’ comments are supported by GEM’s road safety officer Neil Worth. “We tend to be over-optimistic about our level of driving skill, at the same time as telling ourselves that bad things happen to other people – and that can be a lethal combination,” Neil says.

“That’s why we are urging everyone – on every journey – to take personal responsibility for safety, banish distractions and focus solely on the task of driving.”

Research has shown that distracted drivers have a tendency to swerve between lanes, brake inappropriately, choose inappropriate speeds and not react to hazards as early as those paying full attention.

Police reports already show worryingly high levels of speeding and risk-taking, as some drivers decide to take advantage of roads that are quieter than usual.

In the 25-minute seminar, recorded via video conference, Neil Worth and Chris Spinks join Liz Johnson, road safety officer for Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police, for the discussion facilitated by Dr Leanne Savigar-Shaw of Staffordshire University

Watch the 25-minute seminar, which was recorded via video conference.

Listen to, or download, an audio podcast version of the seminar

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