Drivers who use a hand-held or a hands-free mobile phone are often distracted and less aware of what’s happening around them. They often take their eyes off the road, fail to see road signs, react slower and take longer to brake, thereby increasing their chance of having a crash, injuring or killing themselves and/or other people.
Research from Brake shows that although using a hand-held phone causes the greatest distraction, using a hands-free phone does not significantly reduce the risk. It still causes distraction because the driver is concentrating on two thinking tasks at the same time and often taking their eyes off the road to look at the screen. Further research by the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) comments that 47% of motorists aged between 25 and 34 admitted to making or receiving calls while driving, up seven percent from the previous year.
Peter McCall comment: “I have joined with Crimestoppers to highlight the dangers of using mobile phones when on the move, as we are all road users in some way or another and need to make a personal commitment not to use our mobiles phones when on the road. We are asking people to report if they see drivers using their phones, to call the police on 101 or call the 100% anonymous Crimestoppers number on 0800 555 111.
“Mobile phones are an essential part of many people’s lives and some drivers allow themselves to be distracted because they think they are in control and do not believe they are putting themselves at risk. The best way to avoid becoming distracted when driving is to switch off the phone and place it out of reach (e.g. in the glove compartment) removing any temptation to use it.
“Whether it is making a call, listening to voicemail messages or continually updating and checking out what is happening on social media, mobile phone use for many has become an addiction.
“Reading a text message is not a matter of life and death but taking your eyes off the road could well be. Using a phone when driving is irresponsible, puts your own life at risk and other people’s. I would like to urge all drivers and passengers, young and old to have a conversation about the dangers of drivers being distracted and also pledge to leave the phone alone when in charge of a moving vehicle. I hope that our own sense of doing the right thing is enough to prevent mobile use when driving but be assured, the police will continue to enforce this very robustly, just don’t do it!”
Sergeant Callum Young, Mobile Support Group – Operational Support Unit comments: “Using a mobile phone whilst driving can have catastrophic consequences and is a major contributing factor to road traffic collisions. These collisions can lead to devastating injuries which have a lifelong impact on their victims.
“Cumbria Police will deal robustly with anyone caught using their phone behind the wheel. If you are sending messages, making phone calls, changing songs or using social media on a mobile phone when you’re driving, you will be prosecuted.”
Nicolas Griggs, Operations Manager for North West Ambulance Service said: “We are supporting the ‘No Mobile, While Mobile’ campaign and calling for all drivers to think twice about the consequences and keep their phone away whilst driving.
“We see first-hand the devastating effects of using a mobile phone whilst driving. Not only are drivers risking a hefty fine and points on their licence but also risking their life and the lives of other road users.
Gary Murray, North West Regional Manager Crimestoppers said: “It is vitally important that the use of mobile phones whilst driving becomes socially unacceptable. It is easy to become distracted at the wheel by a phone ringing or a message coming in.
“We hope that this campaign will start a discussion within families about the dangers of phone usage and that parents and children agree to turn their phones off whilst at the wheel and for passengers to speak out if a driver in a car they are travelling in goes to use their phone. We all need to change our phone usage to help make our roads safer and to save lives.”