Day 1 of the UK's Road Safety Week 2013 starts today with road safety charity Brake calling on drivers to switch-off and both employers and government to support a ban on hands-free, mobile phone use whilst driving.
The campaign appeals to drivers to turn off their phones or put them in the boot, and urges everyone to refuse to speak on the phone to someone who’s driving. It is being launched a decade after hand-held mobiles were banned at the wheel, and coincides with a week-long enforcement campaign.
Brake, and partners Specsavers and Romex, are revealing statistics confirming the extent of driver distraction on UK roads, and its impact on vulnerable road users:
- More than half a million UK drivers (575,000) have points on their licence for using their mobile phone at the wheel or being otherwise distracted (available by region and postcode). One in 15 (6.5%) of these drivers have six points or more for driving distracted and four in five (78%) are male;
- Six in ten children (62%) report being driven by a driver talking on a phone and nearly eight in 10 (79%) have spotted drivers on mobile phones outside their school or home – suggesting the majority of children are being endangered by drivers for the sake of a call or text.
The campaign is being supported by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), who are coordinating a week-long campaign of heightened police enforcement across the country targeting drivers on hand-held phones.
Distraction reduces hazard perception and increases reaction times in a similar way to drink-driving, making drivers much more likely to cause deaths and injuries. Drivers who think they can multi-task are fooling themselves: research shows 98% are unable to divide their time without it affecting performance. Talking on a phone hand-held or hands free, texting, emailing, adjusting sat navs, eating, drinking and smoking are all proven to increase crash risk.
Source: Brake UK