50% of drivers use phones while driving

SİVAS, Turkey
Published 07.10.2019 00:29

Our mobile phones are our new best friends. While this new friendship can bring many benefits to our daily lives, it has also created new problems affecting personal health and privacy issues as well. A new study conducted by the Association for Combating Digital Addiction has shown that one out of every two bus or truck drivers use mobile phones while driving.

Professor Tuncay Dilci, the chairman of the Association for Combating Digital Addiction, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that 51.2% of the 530 bus and truck drivers they interviewed said they used their mobile phones while driving. Dilci said while digital objects make life easier, they also increasingly encroach into human life and bring about problems.

He added that they conducted a qualitative study to examine the part of digital addiction related to public transport with the participation of public transport, long-haul and truck drivers.

"We have done a qualitative study to draw attention to this situation and discuss the consequences and use of digital devices and their effects on the drivers. Our study involved a group of 530 randomly selected drivers in Sivas, Kayseri and Nevşehir," Dilci said, adding the study's target group consisted of 380 drivers working in the public sector, 70 long-distance and 80 truck drivers.

"A total of 530 drivers were interviewed face-to-face. We tried to examine the drivers' perspective on digital devices and the reasons for their use. Some 51.2% of the drivers said they were on the phone while driving," Dilci added.

He said almost 89.6% of all traffic accidents are caused by drivers' carelessness, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat). In Turkey, using a cellular phone while driving can cost you up to TL 291 in fines. Traffic accidents claim the lives of thousands of people every year in Turkey, where reckless driving and blatant violations of road safety rules are the main culprits. A decrease in the number of fatalities in traffic accidents was reported in the first four months of 2019; authorities linked this to better police inspections and awareness campaigns.

7 out of 100 drivers play

games while driving

According to the same study, 26.2% of the drivers said they checked social media while driving, though occasionally, while 7.1% of the participants admitted playing games in traffic. In particular, truck drivers are bored while driving slowly and in this sense, they act in the form of playing games on their digital devices," Dilci stressed. Dilci pointed to the most significant part of the study, saying 12% of the drivers stated that they could not stay away from digital objects for psychological reasons.

"They felt the necessity of being in constant contact with someone as they were experiencing impulsivity, unaware of this issue and using digital objects as a means of psychological solidarity due to a usage disorder caused by lack of education," Dilci continued. "This is also an indicator of digital addiction. According to the results of the study, 44.2% of the drivers stated that they used digital objects for communication purposes while driving. Around 40.2% of the drivers found it necessary to use digital objects while driving, while 45.7% did not find it right, and the rest said they found it partially correct."

Arguing that the use of digital objects in traffic brings with it violence, Dilci said in such cases drivers might develop a tendency to, for example, step on the gas or brake in an aggressive state or get into an argument over the parking lot.

New laws and regulations introduced last year brought strict measures against moving violations. Amendments to traffic laws made exceeding the speed limit punishable by a fine of TL 1,002, while motorists performing spins and drifts will be hit with a fine of TL 5,010. Drivers using a cellphone while behind the wheel will be slapped with a fine of TL 291.

Exceeding the speed limit five times in a year will result in the confiscation of the offender's driver's license and motorists whose driver's licenses are confiscated twice within five years will be banned from driving. They will be able to renew their licenses only after evaluation by a psychiatrist. Other fines under the new amendment scheme cover drivers not stopping at red lights and those endangering road safeties by rapidly switching lanes.

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