Choosing a Designated Texter

Friday, 08 March 2013

Choosing a designated driver to stay sober on a night out with friends is a habit many people have adopted - but have you ever heard of a designated texter?

Police in Florida are currently campaigning to get drivers to hand over their smartphones to a friend once they get behind the wheel, with the 'designated texter' handling incoming messages so that the driver doesn’t get distracted. It might sound like a quirky idea, but should the UK consider following in Florida’s footsteps with a similar campaign?

Using a mobile phone while driving is already illegal in the UK, with an on the spot 3 points penalty and a fine of £60 for anyone caught. That doesn’t seem to bother Britain’s smartphone addicts, however.

In figures released by Halfords this month, it was found that 35% of UK drivers admit to reading text messages while driving and, more surprisingly, a fifth of motorists admitted to checking their social media sites.

It’s pretty scary stuff when you consider that, according to Which?, drivers are likely to suffer a 79% reduction in attention while texting and driving. This is compared to a 19% reduction when answering a call, and an 11% reduction in attention while driving at the legal alcohol limit; making texting the most dangerous practice on Britain’s roads.

So, it seems that choosing a designated texter could have significant safety benefits. Before you choose someone as a designated texter, however, remember to run through a few ground rules with them:

• What they should respond to: calls and texts? Only texts? Only non-trivial texts?

• How they should respond: do they speak in your voice and respond fully? Or do they have an answering machine role, telling people that you’re driving at the moment and will get back to them later?

• No pranks! They’ll have access to all of your contacts, online profiles, and photographs. Before handing over your phone, make sure your chosen texter is trustworthy.

Remember: safe driving can help you to preserve your no claims discount and therefore help potentially keep your car insurance premium costs down.

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