Is your addiction to checking your mobile phone putting you in physical danger?
You may not immediately think so as you go about your daily life, but as personal injury lawyers with decades of experience, handling hundreds of road traffic accident cases each year, we can see an increasing danger of distraction in society.
New research from a survey by Deloitte has today shown that some people admit checking their phones hundreds of times a day (the average being 27).
In all, Brits check their phones 1.1 billion times a day and 400 billion times a year, with the most worrying stat being that a fifth of 18-24 year-olds admit checking their smartphones when crossing the road.
Those admitting to this may insist they are still crossing safely, and they no doubt only turn to their phone after first checking to see that it is safe to step out into the road.
However, when focusing on their phones as they cross, they leave themselves little or no time to react to any chance in circumstances around them, and should a driver not see that red light, someone looking down at their phone will have no chance to react.
It appears a growing problem, and is perhaps even greater in relation to drivers behind the wheel, as studies suggest using a phone may make it more dangerous than driving having used drugs or drink.
Recent research by the Transport Research Laboratory found sending a text slows reaction time by 37 per cent. Using cannabis delayed it 21 per cent, whilst drinking to the legal limit slowed reactions by 13 per cent. Speaking on a phone slowed it by 46 per cent.
“The modern, touchscreen-based smartphone is less than a decade old, but it is more intertwined with our lives than ever,” said Deloitte’s head of technology, media and telecoms research Paul Lee.
That is certainly true, and whilst that is a positive thing in many aspects of life, as we are able to keep in touch with people through text and email, browse the internet and follow social media platforms at the touch of a button, the advances in technology bring big concerns over our attitudes to personal safety.
They also bring greater responsibilities to all those that have them, to use the safely and at the appropriate times.
In a summer police clampdown, more than 150 people were caught driving while using their mobile phones during a month-long police campaign by Humberside Police. It is a figure which would probably be repeated across the country in similar circumstances, and shows the responsibilities of owning a smartphone are largely being ignored.
If a motorist is caught using a phone at the wheel they will receive three points on their licence and a fine of £100. If the case goes to court, motorists can be disqualified from driving and can be fined up to £1,000.
However, at Hudgell Solicitors, we see more than most that the ultimate cost of such disregard for personal safety can easily be a life, of if not, life-changing injuries for one or more people, and there is certainly nothing on a mobile phone that could every justify that.