Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Don't get distracted behind the wheel

Drivers need to make sure they keep their attention on the road and their driving when they get behind the wheel of a car, that's the message from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.

Motorists face a myriad of distractions when they are driving from ringing mobile phones, MP3 players, car radios and even chatty passengers but it is vital that drivers do not let their attention wander away from the job in hand: driving their car.

The Chief Fire Officers’ Association (CFOA), which is promoting Road Safety Week - June 8-13 - says road traffic collisions are the leading cause of death for young adults between 15 and 19.

Motorists are more than four times as likely to crash if they use a mobile phone whole driving yet a survey of young people has revealed that 62% had read a text while driving and, even more shockingly, 44% had sent one.

Divisional Officer Neil Fenwick, Community Safety, said: “Our crews are called upon to cut people out of their cars following collisions everyday and if drivers paid more attention to what they’re doing we could drastically reduce the number of collisions we attend.

“Young drivers are particularly at risk from road traffic collisions. Although those aged between 17 and 25 represent just 3% of road users they are involved in a quarter of all serious collisions and distraction is a major cause of these collisions.

“Our advice is never use a mobile phone when driving, even on hands free they are a major distraction, never eat while driving and don’t try and change music or radio stations on the move. If you are driving and want to do any of these things pull over into a safe area and park, don’t try and do them on the move.”

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