BLOG: Casualties of the phony war

ALAN FELDBERG: ‘Not long ago I saw a survey revealing that more than a quarter of motorists who admitted to using their handsets while driving were actually taking selfies.

‘While this says something about a deep existential issue within society today – not that I’m judging, of course – it raises another more practical concern. I wonder how many of their friends and followers replied with a complaint about dangerous driving? Instead, the likelihood is that they all responded with a like or thumbs-ups or some other meme of approval.

‘It seems every week we hear about another road death caused by drivers who were paying attention to their phones rather than the cars around them. But for some reason the message isn’t getting through. The it-won’t-happen-to-me mentality remains all-pervasive and, as it has in many aspects of life, the world within our handsets appears to be far more absorbing and important than the world around us.

‘Now, I can’t claim to be innocent. In fact, I first noticed this a few years ago when I was on a driver’s awareness course after being caught red handed myself. I remember the policeman who pulled me over asking if I had any reason for being on my phone. I thought for a split second and then simply said, ‘no’. Which is true in almost all cases.

‘On said course, another guilty driver admitted he had been caught updating Facebook while on the motorway. The room sniggered. But imagine the reaction if he said he’d been caught drink driving, or if those selfies were of motorists with a bottle of alcohol in their mouths?

‘High-profile campaigns have successfully changed our attitudes toward drink driving over the years. It’s now considered almost taboo by most of us. Until the public adopts a similar mindset regarding phones, I suspect the tragic statistics will simply rise and rise.’