Distracted Driving

helmetphonesmallMAG Ireland, the Irish Motorcyclists’ Action Group, reports that at its recent AGM MAG Ireland members voted to adopt a new policy on distracted driving in light of the increase in motorcycle accidents.

MAG Ireland say, “It is clear from research carried out by the RSA (Road Safety Authority)  among others, that distracted driving (most typically use of a mobile phone while driving) is both a growing problem and a significant contributor to motorcycle accidents where another vehicle is involved.  RSA figures suggest it may be as high as one in four collisions.”

At Right To Ride, riders in the context of vulnerable road users, are more than just concerned of the increasing use of mobile phone and other electronic devices by other road users.

MAG Ireland have brought a rational position to this debate, with suggestions for cyclists and car drivers as well as drivers of goods, construction, agricultural or public transport vehicles and including motorcyclists for policy, rigorous enforcement of the existing laws, public road safety education and funding to get rid of this road user menace and socially unacceptable driving on our roads.

In Northern Ireland we can only support MAG Ireland’s position as well as the inclusion written in Northern Ireland’s Road Safety Strategy To 2020:

  • Educate and inform people about the dangers of using any mobile phone while driving, including hands free kits.
  • Consider further measures to reduce mobile phone usage, including texting, while driving.

Information on mobile phone use contained in the Northern Ireland Survey of Seat Belt Wearing 2013, states that “In total 13,293 cars were observed and details of 19,792 occupants recorded. This  recording took place in eight half hour sessions between 08:30 and 17:00 on Tuesday 23rd and Saturday 27th April 2013.”

  • 1 per cent of drivers in 2013 were observed using a mobile phone which is the same as reported for 2012 (0.7 per cent were using a hand – held phone and 0.4 per cent were using a hands – free phone)

So by our calculations,  132 drivers observed were using a hand held mobile phone.

Travel along any street, road, urban or rural byway and it would not be too long before the count of mobile phone use exceeds the number of fingers you have to count on.

These pariahs of mobile phone use, should be penalised for their actions due to the danger they cause and as motorcyclists or any other road users, avoided at all costs!

Distracted Driving – MAG Ireland Position Statement


MAG Ireland’s position statement on distracted driving is presented as follows:


Distracted driving means paying less than full attention whilst operating a vehicle. This primarily concerns the use of additional devices beyond what is provided as standard vehicle equipment.

Distracted driving includes the use while driving of:

Communications equipment such as cellphones and handsfree phones.

Devices such as phones or tablets for texting or using apps.

The setup and programming interfaces of navigation devices

Video equipment such as portable televisions or DVD players

Any additional equipment (such as phones or navigation devices) positioned so that they reduce visibility outside the vehicle.

This policy applies to all road users including motorcyclists, cyclists and car drivers as well as drivers of goods, construction, agricultural or public transport vehicles.

Actions taken to reduce distracted driving should include:


A larger percentage of public road safety education spending to be in this area

Inclusion of knowledge of distracted driving issues and penalties in the driving test

Inclusion of distracted driving policies in the safety requirements of employers


More rigorous enforcement of the existing laws in this area

Increased levels of prosecutions under the existing careless driving offences where appropriate

Inclusion of phone usage records in all post-accident investigations

Research & Engineering

Funding of national and european level safety research on distracted driving

Investigation of options for automated detection and enforcement of mobile usage in vehicles


Distracted driving is responsible for a large and growing percentage of accidents internationally.

Mobile phone bans are both widespread and openly flouted.

The incidence of mobile phone use while driving is unacceptably high and public awareness of the seriousness of the issue is astoundingly low when compared to drink driving to which it is comparable in effect.

Some countries (including Portugal) have banned handsfree use.

Handsfree phones are not a solution.

Research shows it is the act of carrying out a conversation which increases accident risk regardless of mode.

MAG Ireland will aim to increase awareness of the distracted driving issue and will work to highlight the particular risks posed to motorcyclists.

Original Source – MAG Ireland – Click Here

Information Links
MAG Ireland has previously posted about the risks of distracted driving.
Drivers Urged To Think Bike – Click Here
Put The Phone Down Look Twice Save A Life – Click Here
Northern Ireland Survey of Seat Belt Wearing 2013 – pdf – Click Here
Northern Ireland’s Road Safety Strategy To 2020 – Click Here

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  1. Distracted Riders – Following on from our report on MAG Ireland’s new policy on distracted driving in light of the increase in motorcycle accidents and a follow up on intelligent helmets, the link is to a video from Skully helmets.
    Is this what riders want – expect – need?
    A comment from another conversation on the use of electronic devices and an intelligent helmet!
    “Intelligent helmet: or information overload? While here in the UK riders highlight the negative use of mobile phones and other devices by other vehicle drivers as regards road safety, this technology moves riders towards the same thing?”
    “I just can’t get over that people need to communicate constantly (talk), driving, walking the dog, trailing the kids around the shops with inane conversations……………
    As for bike intercoms, I am sure there is a benefit to talking to your pillion or a partner/person riding with you (apart from Learners) however my personal choice is when I am on the bike I am out there on my own as an escape.
    I don’t need to be talking about the flowers, the beautiful mountains and bees whizzing past and if there is a phone call, it will not be that urgent that I can then check the phone when stopped, to see if there has been any incoming calls.
    But that is just me and why we are so diverse and technology will move on and people will want it.”
    Trevor Baird – Right To Ride
    Skully Helmets – Video – Click Here
    Skully Helmets on Skully Helmets – video – Click Here
    Better use of the music in the Skully Helmet promo ad

    • From the Ride It Right website and Facebook page a bit of dicussion on rider systems!
      Thanks Dave for you comment and as you say British firm REEVU have been doing this for over a decade but now with global “instant” messaging community etc etc the message on products will get out globally faster!
      For those that don’t know about REEVU here is the link to their website http://www.reevu.com and Facebook page.
      There is also the option of RiderScan which is is a parabolic mirror that is mounted to the centre front of a motorcycle/scooter within the rider’s forward line of view and claims to offer motorcycle/scooter riders total blind spot visibility for the first time. http://www.huntercreate.com
      Here is our comment to yours on the Ride It Right Facebook page regarding these new systems.
      Dave Smith – Distraction the Rider is not good. You need to see only using your peripheral vision.. LIKE in the REEVU helmet so it doesn’t get in the way.. Refocusing in the helmet would be a disaster. This is Just a prototype and a bit of Artistic Licence.
      Ride It Right – Something similar is “Google Glass” although a lot more sophisticated looking.
      The DfT (Department for Transport) in GB have already said: “A spokesman for the DfT said: “It is important that drivers give their full attention to the road when they are behind the wheel and do not behave in a way that stops them from observing what is happening on the road.
      “A range of offences and penalties already exist to tackle those drivers who do not pay proper attention to the road, including careless driving which will become a fixed penalty offence later this year.
      “We are aware of the impending rollout of Google Glass and are in discussion with the police to ensure that individuals do not use this technology while driving.”
      This is not the only prototype or system in production there is this also this one http://www.bike-hud.com which claims: “Bike HUD from Bike Systems is a heads-up display system that lets you concentrate on riding safely and effectively. Whether you’re commuting, touring or on a track day, Bike HUD shows you what you need to know about your motorcycle without needing to look down at your instruments.”
      Thus promoting a rider with the system in their helmet as a better rider. Both these systems say, they are heads up display, which might bring to mind that the information is projected in the visor, like some sort of Fighter/Black Hawk Helicopter pilot in a video game but this would appear not to be so. A device is mounted inside the helmet, which looks like a small screen, depending on your perspective of small.
      As we know riding a bike is not a video game, it is real life and when motorcycle jounalists are quoted as saying, “‘I’ve never ridden so well or hit bends so right!’ Simon Shirley – Commuter/Leisure Motorcyclist” then are we moving a step in some direction that we don’t know where it will lead? Or really if you want to, “hit bends so right!” riders should be going out at getting some real world post rider training or assesments…………….
      Our verdict on these devices!
      The jury is out deliberating and discussing whether these enhance the rider experience, take away from it or replace it with something different – new age riders!

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