As a survey finds that two million passengers would do nothing if their driver used a hand-held phone while driving, the AA Charitable Trust has launched a new campaign to discourage texting while driving.
The AA Populus poll of 23,141 drivers asked: Which of the following would you do if you were a passenger and your driver used their hand-held mobile when driving? The responses were:
- Ask them to stop using phone — 59 per cent
- Offer to take the call — 50 per cent
- Take the phone away — 12 per cent
- Refuse to get in car with them again — 8 per cent
- Report them to police — 1 per cent
- Nothing, but would be annoyed — 5 per cent
- Nothing, won’t bother me — 1 per cent
More than one in ten (13 per cent) young drivers (18-24 yrs) said they find it difficult to ignore a message or email alert on their phones whilst driving. Overall 6 per cent of drivers find this difficult.
While the Government intends to increase the penalties for using a mobile at the wheel to six penalty points and a £200 fine, the AA Trust believes changing behaviour is just as important.
Latest Government figures show a 35 per cent increase in fatalities on built-up roads. The report said that there had been 200 fatalities on roads with a maximum of 40 mph between April and June 2016, compared to 148 deaths for the same period in 2015.
A total of 24,620 people were killed or seriously injured in the year ending June 2016, up 3 per cent compared to the previous year. For the same period, deaths of car occupants rose by 9 per cent and pedestrians by 3 per cent.
Edmund King OBE, AA Trust director said: “The hike in fatalities on built-up roads by more than a third, is staggering and may be due to driver inattention from excessive use of mobile phones at the wheel.”
In order to stop these avoidable deaths, the AA Trust is embarking on a yearlong campaign to change behaviour. The campaign kicks off with the launch of a new film, “Cadence”.
A young film-maker became so uncomfortable by her peers’ driving and use of mobiles at the wheel that she has produced a film with a safety twist, thanks to funding from the AA Charitable Trust.
Emmeline Kellie, who wrote, starred in and produced the film was compelled to do so after becoming such a nervous car passenger with many of her friends because they were always using their mobile phones behind the wheel.
Emmeline, who graduated from the University of Derby in Media Production, said: “I saw a road safety presentation when I was at school and it really struck a chord with me.
“Roads make me nervous so I delayed driving for quite a while because I was too scared to take my life into my own hands, but as my friends started using their phones more and more at the wheel, it became clear that I would be safer driving myself.
“People just don’t realise it only takes one moment to glance at a text and it can all go wrong behind the wheel; and that it only needs to go wrong once.”
The film also features young London based musician Luke Pickett. “Cadence” features two of his songs and he also wrote the score for the film.
Luke said: “I was keen to work on the Cadence project as it is an unconventional approach to road safety and hopefully will help to save lives.”
Click here to view the “Cadence” texting and driving campaign video on YouTube.