Jenny Willott MP appeals to drivers to tune in to road safety and turn off their phones

November 18, 2013 1:43 PM

Jenny Willott MP

Local MP Jenny Willott is backing a national campaign launched by the charity Brake at the start of Road Safety Week, 18 - 24 November, calling on drivers to tune into road safety, to prevent appalling crashes caused by multi-tasking at the wheel.

The campaign appeals to drivers to turn off their phones and urges everyone to refuse to speak on the phone to someone who's driving. It is being launched almost exactly a decade after hand-held mobiles were banned at the wheel and is being supported by a week-long campaign of heightened police enforcement across the country targeting drivers on hand-held phones, coordinated by the Association of Chief Police Officers.

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.[i] Drivers who think they can multi-task are fooling themselves: research shows 98% are unable to divide their time without it affecting performance.[ii] Talking on a phone hand-held or hands free, texting, emailing, adjusting sat navs, eating, drinking and smoking are all proven to increase your risk of crashing.[iii]

Jenny Willott MP, said: "Staying focused is vital to ensuring you're safe at the wheel, enabling you to spot hazards in time and react quickly in an emergency. It's a simple fact that if you're using a mobile phone or any other gadget, or distracted by anything else, you're more likely to crash, potentially causing very serious injury or even killing someone. These tragedies are entirely preventable, and happen far too often. I'm urging everyone to back this campaign, and pledge to tune into road safety and avoid distractions at the wheel, to help to prevent crashes and casualties in our community. If we all get behind this campaign, we can make a huge difference in making our local streets safer and stop families suffering needlessly."

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, the road safety charity, said: "We're living in an age when being constantly connected is the norm; more and more of us have smartphones, and find it hard to switch off, even for a minute. While there are enormous benefits to this new technology, it's also posing dangerous temptations to drivers to divert their concentration away from the critical task at hand, often putting our most vulnerable road users in danger. Many people who wouldn't dream of drink-driving are succumbing to using their phone and other distractions while driving, oblivious that the effect can be similar and the consequences just as horrific. We're calling on all drivers to tune into road safety: turn off your phone or put it in the boot, and never try to multi-task at the wheel. We're also appealing to everyone to refuse to chat to someone on the phone who's driving, to help them arrive safely."



[i] The impact of driver inattention on near-crash/crash risk: an analysis using the 100-car naturalistic driving study data, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2006

[ii] Supertaskers: Profiles in extraordinary multitasking ability, University of Utah, 2010

[iii] The impact of driver inattention on near-crash/crash risk: an analysis using the 100-car naturalistic driving study data, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2006

What would you like to do next?