Sussex Safer Roads Partnership is warning motorists of the dangers of using your mobile phone whilst driving, with a new campaign entitled #ItCanWait.
This topic has gained significant momentum recently, and we are starting the new year with this subject as it is so emotive and so contentious. There have been quite a few cases recently where a driver using their mobile phone behind the wheel has caused a collision resulting in serious injury or death, the most notable being that of Tomasz Kroker. Since killing four members of the same family last year due to being distracted behind the wheel, he has been sentenced with ten years in prison – which, given that the crash started with a split-second distraction – all could have been avoided, had he not been using his mobile to change the music in his lorry.
SSRP is running with the tagline “It Can Wait”, emphasising that when you are travelling in a vehicle, nothing is more important than your skill and driving. We are asking motorists to focus on only this, as what is more important – replying to the text immediately? Or getting to your destination alive?
When you really consider the two options, there is no question in the answer.
SSRP will be using various tactics to get the message out to drivers. Working with all partners, over the next three months, there will be various elements the public can get involved with, including reporting drivers using their mobiles to Operation Crackdown, spreading the message of the dangers to friends and family, sharing social media pieces from SSRP, and – above all – not even vaguely considering using your mobile behind the wheel.
Currently, the penalties for using your mobile phone behind the wheel are three points on your licence, and a £100 fine. Obviously, the worst result would be killing someone whilst you’re distracted, and you are statistically more likely to have slow reactions if you are preoccupied with your mobile. If you know the sound of it ringing or a notification will tempt you to pick it up, then switch your phone to silent. Better still, turn it off. Place it in your bag in the boot.
Get into the mind-set that it is irrelevant whilst you are driving.