Nearly half (48pc) of drivers in countries such as Germany, Spain, France, Great Britain and Italy admit they read texts while they’re behind the wheel, a new study of 5,500 European drivers, carried out by Ford, has revealed. The survey also included Russia.
The Italians are apparently the worst offenders, with 61pc of surveyed drivers there admitting they check their text messages while driving.
The texting survey didn’t cover Ireland, however, but a recent AA study on the topic found that 40pc of surveyed Irish drivers text while driving.
Ford said it carried out the study as part of its market research on safety before its new SYNC in-car connectivity system makes its debut on the new Ford B-MAX this summer. It said its SYNC tech would have the facility to read incoming messages aloud through a text-to-speech feature.
|COUNTRY||Percentage of drivers that have read a text on their mobile phone while driving||Percentage of drivers that think reading a text while driving affects the driver’s safety and driving ability|
|COUNTRY||Who would drivers be most likely to check a text message from?||Who would drivers be least likely to check a text message from|
As for the study, an average of 48pc of motorists surveyed from Germany, Spain, France, Great Britain, Italy and Russia confessed to checking their texts while driving. This compares to 55pc of motorists surveyed in Russia, 49pc in France and Germany, 40pc in Spain and 33pc in Great Britain.
Ford said 95pc of drivers across the six countries agreed that texting affected driver ability and safety.
Russian drivers said they were most likely to be distracted by a message from a family member who was not their partner.
Drivers surveyed said they were least likely to read messages from friends, with the exception of surveyed drivers in Germany and France, who were least likely to read work-related texts.
Ford is now gearing up to ramp up its SYNC rollout this summer in Europe.
Christof Kellerwessel, chief functional engineer, Electronic and Electrical Systems Engineering at Ford of Europe, said the auto giant would be debuting SYNC initially in the new B-MAX.
He said SYNC would roll out to other vehicles in Ford’s line-up, including the Focus and Kuga.
The text-to-speech feature on SYNC is powered by Microsoft. Ford said the platform would retrieve messages using a simple voice command from Bluetooth-connected compatible smartphones.
More than 4m Ford vehicles in the US already feature SYNC. The auto giant is expecting that 3.5m new vehicles in Europe will be equipped with SYNC by 2015.