Every single time when step outside your door, you participate in traffic. There is a certain set of rules built around the transportation of goods and people in order to prevent accidents. The different types of transportation, if it is by car, train, foot or subway, each have their own rules.
A few days ago, the topic about the amount of deaths in traffic was in the news. According to the Centraal Bureau van de Statistieken (Statistics Netherlands), the amount of deaths in 2016 increased with 8.9% compared to 2015. About 30% of all the deaths were motorists that passed away in a traffic accident. The majority of the motorists were between the age of 18 and 25 or above the age of 75.
The most common and well known cause of car accidents is distraction. According to rtlnieuws.nl, around 25% of the accidents share this cause. There are a lot of forms of distraction, such as listening to music, calling someone, sending messages, checking social media and commercials alongside the road. The chance of an accident increases a lot when using social media and sending messages. This is because you are physically and mentally distracted from your surroundings.
The distraction in traffic is not only dangerous for the people who get distracted, but also for other people. It is proven that when you are on a mobile device while driving, the chance of an accident increases from 23 up to 130 times. According to the Openbaar Ministerie (Public Prosecution Service), the chance of getting in an accident when calling would be multiplied by four. Veilig Verkeer Nederland (no translation available) beliefs that using your smartphone while driving is one of the most common causes of deaths in traffic, but there are no facts that substantiate this statement.
These accidents do not only have consequences for the victims, but also for the fire brigade, police, ambulance, other participants in traffic, the insurance and the victim’s next of kin.
When there has been an accident, the police, ambulances and, if it is very extreme, the fire brigade have to go to the place of the accident. They have to help the victims but also have to find out what and how it happened.
The other participants in traffic are also effected, because they have to wait until the wreck of the car, the ambulance and the police are gone. This can cause traffic jams, which might cause that the other traffic participants arrive late at their destination and that they might miss an important meeting or happening.
Insurances are also deeply affected: When the amount of accidents increases in the upcoming years, there will be more people with a high risk. Therefore, the premium the insured have to pay, will also increase.
Like I discussed above, there are quite some consequences for both the victims of the accidents caused by distraction and for the participants around the issue of the increasing number of (fatal) accidents.
One of the solutions which might decrease the number of accidents in traffic, is making more commercials to inform people about the (fatal) consequences of the usage of your phone while driving, sailing or else. Although there are many forms of distractions, the phone is the worst of them all. This is because, like I mentioned before, you are getting physically and mentally distracted. It is also important to inform people at schools about the consequences. Not only motorists get caught by cars often, cyclists do too. When they get informed about what could happen when they distract themselves, they might think twice before they decide. Another solution is decreasing the amount of commercials alongside the road. Therefore, people will get distracted less and will be focussed more on the road. And last but not least, handing out more and higher fines when people break the rules. This way, the amount of accidents will decrease, because there are bigger consequences when the people get busted by the police.
In my opinion, it is very important that people get informed about the consequences of getting distracted in traffic. The government should make sure there less distractions alongside of the road. When this happens, the amount of traffic accidents (and also the fatal ones) will for sure decrease. To improve the situation you could already start by yourself: Keep your eyes on the road and your hands off your phone.
Author: Daphne Mathijsen – Freaders