Charity warns of satnav distraction dangers

12.00 | 29 July 2013 | | 5 comments

The road safety charity DriveSafe is urging motorists to concentrate at all times following the tragic case of a driver who killed a cyclist while distracted by a satnav system.

The driver, Victoria McClure, had been “fiddling with her satnav for almost 20 seconds” when she collided with cyclist Anthony Hillson, according to DriveSafe.

DriveSafe says the conviction of Ms McClure for causing death by dangerous driving – which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years – serves as “the starkest of warnings” to road users of the dangers of being distracted.

Fay Goodman, DriveSafe founder, said: “This tragic case sends out the strongest of messages that drivers need to remain alert at all times. Only a few seconds of distraction can make the difference between life and death.

“Satnavs, like mobile phones, play an important role in our lives, especially in helping us arrive somewhere on time or in dealing with an emergency, but the temptations of technology can also drive us to distraction if we are not careful.

“Ms McClure probably thought that she was doing was nothing wrong in her actions, but her 20 seconds of driving blind are almost certain to result in her going to prison and facing a driving ban.”

Through its ‘Courtesy on the Road’ campaign, DriveSafe is campaigning to make roads safer and more pleasant for motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians. The charity has also published a driver’s handbook, ‘DriveSafe – An Essential Guide for Motorists’, in association with Aston University.

Contact Fay Goodman on 07976 426463 for more information.


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    I am sorry to say I am not surprised that this has happened – given the number of satnavs in use, its not surprising. What we will never know is how many lives have been saved as a direct result of drivers not getting lost, either due to fewer miles covered to complete the journey or few accidents caused directly by drivers being uncertain which way to turn, or distracted by looking for signs, reading maps or stopping to ask the way.

    I put off buying mine for years because many of the most beautiful parts of this country I know I first found when I was lost. Now I use it only rarely, when I need to find a particular address. But I am concerned to hear some say that they no longer have any real idea where they are – in a spatial awareness sense – but simply drive according to satnav instructions. That seems to me to be dangerous in itself.

    Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield
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    It is not against the law for a driver to use a device with a screen. It is as far as I am aware for a driver to view a CRT or a valve operated screen. If correct possibly needs updating!

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    I thought it was against the law to have a screen in view of the driver, the law does not say what type of screen so therefore a sat nav screen should also be against the law. Any sort of modern IT distraction can be a killer when driving.

    Vince Clark Runcorn Cheshire
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    This is a another unfortunate case of an individual who caused the death of another due to a lapse of concentration caused by increasing technology in vehicles.
    Unfortunately this message will not reach the millions of drivers who every day do the same thing many times a day.
    The perception of and the evidence the mass motoring public experience is that it will not happen to them.
    If such technology is here to stay and the risk of being caught is very low, what is the answer.

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    We have all done it. Driven down a road. For some reason, and there are many, our mind goes elsewhere and the we suddenly look up and say to ourselves I can’t remember getting here ie the last few seconds. Not right. There are too many distractions that cause unattentional blindness.

    bob craven Lancs
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