Writing a quick whatsapp message? A quick look at the cell phone to see who made the call? No problem within your own four walls. Neither in the office. Highly dangerous in the car. The police department in kitzingen is holding a day of action to draw attention to the dangers of distraction in traffic.
Harald hufnagel and his colleagues have had to record many accidents in which the drivers were simply distracted. Eating, drinking, a conversation with the passenger, crying children in the back seat: all this can lead to a moment of inattention while driving. And already it happened.
At the start of the school year, hufnagel was assigned to fischergasse in kitzingen to ensure the safety of the school’s freshmen. He observed a woman who, with a cup of coffee in her hand, was visibly having problems maneuvering her car. "There are many types of distraction," says the traffic officer at the kitzingen police station.
Cell phone is most dangerous
However, drivers are most often distracted by their cell phones – and that is almost always dangerous, as the statistics underline.
The probability of causing a traffic accident while reading or writing a message is twelve times higher than without any distraction.
14 meters covered by a driver traveling at 50 km/h in just one second. Anyone who uses the navigation system or writes a quick text message takes much longer than a second to do so. The distance he covers in the car is correspondingly long – without really paying attention.
The dangers of using a cell phone in traffic have been an issue for about five years now. "Since 2017, operating a cell phone while driving has been sanctioned," reports hufnagel. 100 euros plus 28.50 euros fee for a point in flensburg. This is the penalty. In expert circles, however, voices are already being raised that demand an additional driving ban of one month for a second death of this kind. "Some people only learn through severe punishment," says hufnagel. A study in the u.S. Showed that 68 percent of accidents are due to distraction. In germany, the figure is around 50 percent.
One out of two accidents could be avoided if drivers would focus on the essentials. "Just think of the rear-end collisions at traffic lights," says hufnagel. "They are almost always due to distraction."The amazing thing is that hardly any drivers who are stopped deny the danger posed by their misconduct. "People are usually reasonable," says hufnagel, reporting an astonishing phenomenon: people who drive with their cell phones in their ears usually slow down. "Many drivers instinctively let off the gas because they know their behavior is dangerous."However, very few people turn it off. The temptation is just too rough. Here, too, harald hufnagel has a tip. "I simply put my cell phone in my backpack when i drive."
And when the toddler cries on the back seat? "Look ahead, reassure the child and pull over at the next opportunity," the expert advises.
On thursday, 20. September, the police will carry out the "distraction" action day throughout the district of kitzingen. In concrete terms, this means that four stationary controls will be set up, and for a total of five hours, officials will focus more intensively on this problem. "Of course, the colleagues who are on patrol also look more intensely on that day at admirers who are distracted," says hufnagel. With this day of action, the civil servants want to draw attention to a form of misconduct that is becoming more and more widespread. Every driver must take the right consequences for himself or herself.