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Police to reinforce crackdown on drivers watching DMB

Posted June. 17, 2014 06:04,   


Police will reinforce its crackdown on drivers who watch the DMB while driving during the World Cup. If a driver is caught by police, the driver will face 60,000 won (58.7 U.S. dollars) in fine and 15 penalty points. A driver’s ability watch what is in front is 78.1 percent under normal conditions, while the ability drops to 58.1 percent when a driver watches the DMB while driving. This is even lower than the ability of a drunk driver whose blood-alcohol content of 0.1 percent (71.1 percent.) It takes around 1.12 seconds for a driver watching the DMB to avoid an obstacle, similar to drunk driving (1.4 seconds), indicating high risk of causing a car accident.

This reporter recently participated in an experiment showing how risky it is to drive a car while watching the DMB in a Korea Traffic Education Center in Sangju, North Gyeongsang Province. I compared normal driving to driving while watching the DMB in three courses – a quick-braking course, a risk-aversion course, and a high-speed driving course. Driving while watching the DMB was much less safer than driving without watching it in all three courses. Even I almost hit the guardrail during the experiment.

A quick-braking course is a course in which a driver puts on a brake 20 meters in front of a column of water when the traffic lights turn red so that the driver does not hit the column. When I was driving a car at 40 kilometers per hour, I stopped five meters ahead of the column, but when I drove at the same speed watching the DMB, I stopped two meters ahead of the column. When I drove at 50 kilometers per hour, I collided with the column and the car stopped six meters past the column. When I drove the car watching the DMB, the car hit the column, and stopped 16 meters past the column. If the column was a person, it could have been a big accident. Although I was expecting a dangerous situation (hitting a water column), I belatedly responded to the situation when I was driving while watching the DMB. An S course is a 180-meter long winding road consisting of 80 traffic cones, which makes a car barely pass. When I drove the risk aversion course, I did not hit any traffic cone. While watching the DMB, however, I drove only 10 meters but pushed three traffic cones and deviated from the course.

I got dizzier in the high-speed experiment. I drove the course at 70 kilometer per hour in a circuit. The faster I drove, the more I felt things were flowing like water. When I started driving touching the DMB, I missed all signs “night driving,” a “cross walk,” and an “eco driving.” I almost hit a guardrail after driving about 300 meters and touching the DMB. Kim Jun-nyeon, a professor of the Education Development Department of the Korea Traffic Education Center, who did the experiment with me. He said, “However careful you might be, you have risks here and there. If you watch the DMB or touch a mobile phone while driving, it’s like a suicide.”