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Smart technology can stop drivers getting distracted and crashing, says auto firm

Wang Yanlin
Survey finds 74% of road traffic accident survivors said the main cause was distracted driving, followed by complex road conditions.
Wang Yanlin
Smart technology can stop drivers getting distracted and crashing, says auto firm

Distractions in cars, such as making phone calls, have become one of the major factors causing road accidents, and auto firm Continental is gearing up for new inventions to provide solutions.

In 2020, 74 percent of people who survived road traffic accidents said the main cause was distracted driving, followed by complex road conditions. 

The figure comes from the 2018-2020 White Paper on China's Distracted Youth and Road Traffic Accidents, compiled by Continental China and non-profit organization HCVC from interviews with 9,982 people aged between 18 and 34.

Aiming to provide data-based guidance to improve road safety awareness, the paper also shows that over 70 percent of young drivers experienced distractions while driving.

Notable in the findings is the level of distraction related to phones, with around 82 percent of respondents saying they used phones for making calls or sending messages. 

The data also shows that the longer period of time drivers use to check their phones, the more likely they were to get involved in a traffic accident. The likelihood increased significantly if a call (including hands-free calls) lasted for more than 20 seconds.

"We hope to initiate discussion in the industry about driving safety at the social and technical levels," said Enno Tang, president and CEO of Continental China.

Continental has devoted many years to developing products and technologies that enhance vehicle safety and reduce potential hazards caused by distraction.

For example, the company has unveiled a cabin-sensing system that can monitor the driver's attention levels via facial recognition.

"We also call for more awareness among people, as some drivers argued in the interview that distraction is inevitable, thus leading to a tendency among them to attribute distracted behavior to external factors," Tang said.

It has been affirmed that within one minute of answering a phone call, a driver will miss 40 percent of traffic signs and have slower response time, increasing the risk of a crash by as much as three times.

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