Road Safety News

Brake’s distraction advice ‘unrealistic’

Wednesday 7th January 2015

The Bristol Post says that advice provided by Brake to help drivers avoid being distracted is unrealistic and suggests the charity should “treat drivers with more respect if it wants them to take its advice seriously”.

The paper’s comments are in response to advice given by Brake in a press release issued earlier today.

The Bristol Post acknowledges “there is no doubt that modern technology in cars can distract motorists” and that “the latest plea to drivers by road safety charity Brake is a sensible one”.

The Bristol Post goes on to say: “But Brake goes further, asking drivers to set sat-navs and tune radios before they travel and not attempt to re-programme or change them while on the road.

“And that's where the advice becomes unrealistic. Far from making roads more dangerous, tools like sat-navs have made it easier for drivers to concentrate on driving, without having to worry about which direction to take. Meanwhile, using the analogue alternative – holding and reading a paper map while driving – seems almost suicidal in comparison.

“And what driver is realistically going to pull over to change a radio channel or CD track?

“Brake's sentiment is commendable – but the charity needs to treat drivers with more respect if it wants them to take its advice seriously.”


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Good that someone finally recognised Brake's bad attitude towards drivers and always seeing small potential negatives in everything instead of much larger positives. About time newspapers started throwing loaded surveys into the bin rather than reporting them verbatim. Not surprising that Brake can find Insurance Company partners for mutual benefit - more prosecutions mean higher insurance premiums for some. Of course, driver distraction is an issue - potential distraction is ever present, but drivers must manage distraction - choose a safe, stationary time to mess with something. Cars controls are much more ergonomically designed these days - often with steering controls for audio and cruise control. I've never come across a display only sat nav - they all have voice. I've had varying success with sat nav directions - often being directed down a track barely wide enough for a car, or finding my way safely in the dark to a place I've never been before, that I wouldn't have found easily without sat nav. Worth remembering that there is much less death and injury on the roads due to 500 billion Vehicle Km than in the home, so well done 32 million drivers.
Paul Biggs, Staffodshire

Agree (16) | Disagree (20)

Changing the CD track or radio station is a single button operation, resetting a Sat Nav usually requires changing multiple screens and a keyboard input, we all know how tricky that is. We need to be sure the advice we give is reasonable, I would never tell a driver not to retune a radio...that would blow our credibility out of the water, but resetting a sat nav on the move is full of wrongness. Common sense is needed....
Iain Temperton

Agree (30) | Disagree (0)

The Bristol Post seems to ignore the fact that motor vehicles have the potential to kill and should be treated as such. Is the life of children so worthless to them that they consider driving without concentrating acceptable?
Steve, merseyside

Agree (26) | Disagree (12)

It must be a slow news day in Bristol. Isn't the point of a satnav that you set it at the start of your journey and then it tells you how to get there? And if you have to change your destination mid-journey is it all that unrealistic to expect drivers to pull over for a few seconds rather than trying to look at the satnav screen while driving?
This newspaper needs to be a bit more objective if it wants its readers to take it seriously.
Tim Philpot, Wolverhampton

Agree (33) | Disagree (9)