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Too Close For Comfort - The Impact Of Driver Distraction

Date: 08-10-2020

A road safety officer who had a narrow escape this week when a vehicle collided with his car is appealing for drivers to concentrate more and focus on the task of driving. The call comes during road safety week and just a day after the officer experienced a close call.

While driving in the course of his duties, Mayo County Council’s road safety officer observed a car crossing the white line on the road and heading towards him. Mr. Gibbons took immediate evasive action to avoid a head-on collision, resulting in a front-side impact, and shunting his car into a ditch.

The collision was captured on a dashcam. The footage highlights the importance of staying focused when driving and what can happen in a split second on the roads when a normal routine journey can turn into a nightmare.

Noel Gibbons recalled the incident and said “The driver may have been distracted while using a mobile phone, digital technology or some other distraction, but the end result could have been much more serious for all. Had this being a pedestrian or cyclists surely it would have resulted in a serious injury or worse still, a fatality.

This week is Road Safety Week and while road safety professionals are promoting safe and responsible behaviours to all road users about using the roads, with ever increasing demands on our personal and professional time in today’s busy society, learning to juggle multiple tasks at once is something we all face daily. As a result, a new traffic safety epidemic has emerged on Irish roadways that demand immediate attention and that is driver distraction.

“We have all come to rely on digital technology taking the place of most face-to-face contact. That is why we are concerned that this will become a new norm and we fear that too many drivers will ignore the distraction risks of using their devices when they get back behind the wheel. Many drivers are simply not focusing on the task at hand – driving safely” he said.

Noel Gibbons added “We tend to be over-optimistic about our level of driving skill, at the same time as telling ourselves that bad things happen to other people – and that can be a lethal combination, and that’s coming from my own personal experience from this collision.”

“I’m using this opportunity to urge everyone – on every journey – to take personal responsibility for safety, banish distractions and focus solely on the task of driving.”

The message is simple – “One Text or Call Could Wreck it All.” With laws to discourage distracted driving, I hope drivers get the message loud and clear.

The collision is being investigated by the Gardai and its hoped by releasing this footage it will raise the issue of driver distraction on our roads and in doing so prevent a repeat of such collisions. 

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