In Indonesia, we drive cars, motorcycles or vehicles as we please. The police are more interested in keeping everybody driving straight and God forbid if you cross the straight white line (although it’s ok to park underneath the sign ‘no parking’!). There is no awareness about road safety whatsoever.
I mentioned very briefly about drink and driving, but there is more important issue that almost car drivers do in Indonesia: taking calls while driving, and worse, sending and receiving text messages when they are behind the steering wheel.
Since 1st February the UK Department of Transport launches a new campaign about the danger of receiving or taking calls when driving.
Quoted from The Road Safety Website:
- It is hard to do two things at once and research has shown that if you are using a mobile phone whilst driving, you are four times more likely to have a crash.
- In fact, if you use any type of mobile be it hands free or hands held, your reaction times are worse than if you were driving under the influence of alcohol, at the legal limit. Tests have shown that reaction times for drivers using a hand-held phone slows reactions by 50% when compared to normal driving and by 30% when compared to being drunk (Direct Line Mobile Phone Report 2002).
- The use of a mobile phone often involves distractions which could be visual, auditory, mental or physical (Direct Line Mobile Phone Report 2002).
- Even if you’re a careful driver, it’s easy to be distracted by a phone call or text message – and that split second lapse in concentration could result in a crash.
The fine for using a hand-held phone whilst driving is £60 and three penalty points on your license. Even if using a hands-free device, if you are not in proper control of your vehicle you can also be prosecuted for the same penalties – £60 fine and three points on your licence. Your boss can also be prosecuted if they require employees to make or receive mobile calls while driving.
I wish Indonesia spends more time, energy, and money to think about the road safety. I wish.