Motoring News

On your phone? It’s the same as driving blind

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – All ready for your annual Easter road trip and holiday? Here’s a last-minute read before you hit the road, courtesy of the MasterDrive crew…

Imagine you’re driving through congested traffic while navigating through the threats of power outages, law-breakers, and general chaos associated with peak-hour driving in South Africa. Now imagine that almost half the vehicles navigating such challenges have a blind driver at the wheel.

According to statistics, on average, 40% of drivers at a given time are looking at a cellphone rather than the road – and vehicle – ahead…

SUN IN YOUR EYES, PHONE IN YOUR HAND: Avoid being a road statistic – try this phone app for talking while driving
. Image: MasterDrive

Eugene Herbert, MD of the MasterDrive ”college” of better road habits, says: “A large portion of the drivers are applying the same attention and vision capabilities of somebody wearing a blindfold.

”Now THAT’s a sobering thought.

“A driver experiencing inattention blindness can look straight at a stop sign or a group of pedestrians but not consciously register them. Such distraction continues for a few seconds after taking eyes of the phone’s screen.

”So, the question that needs to be asked next, is ”do you want to be such a driver… or share the road with such a driver?”

The statistics are not new. “Indeed, MasterDrive regularly shares such statistics to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving. Yet, continuing research on the topic by the World Health Organisation suggests that the use of cellphones in cars has in the past five years, increased by as much as 11% across a number of countries.

READ MORE MasterDrive features here

“Such drivers are aware of the danger, yet persist, so MasterDrive investigated new technology that could reduce the challenge by partnering with the creators of the ping app which reads messages out loud for you.

”Drivers can continue with the task of driving while still receiving essential communication from colleagues and family.”

ping co-founder Barrie Arnold says the struggle to ignore one’s phone, even for a limited period, was a major motivation in the creation of the app. “In our ‘always-connected’ world messages continue to stream in even when driving.

”We all know the dangers of distracted driving yet 88% of drivers risk it anyway.

ping is a patented voice-based app that eliminates the ‘urge’ to check phones by automatically reading WhatsApp, SMS, email, and all other messages out loud so drivers can stay focused on the roads.

”Drivers reduce the stress of not knowing and avoid the frustration of missing a message that could change his or her plans.”


MasterDrive wants to encourage the tech: “It balances the constant need to access a phone against the importance of road safety. The Mrs South Africa contestants were the latest to receive their subscriptions to ping.

”We look forward to working with those who understand just how important it is to take a stand against distracted driving.”

Anyone can try the ping app risk free for 14 days by clicking here.

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