The Department for Transport’s THINK! campaign has begun targeting drivers who text at the wheel with a series of radio commercials.
Previously only addressing the issue of speeding, the Road Safety minister Jim Fitzpatrick has approved the adverts on the back of research that shows 30 per cent of young drivers admitted to texting while driving.
A steady stream of cyclists are also going online to sign a Roadpeace petition asking the Government to ban motorists caught breaking the no-mobiles-while-driving law.
Allan Ramsay of Road Peace, who submitted the petition to Number10.gov, said: “Ideally, I’d like to see the Government take action in the form of confiscation of the car and driver’s licence, permanently. Perhaps the DfT could reconstruct the scene in which Leigh Dolby was killed by a driver on the phone. Let the nation see the likely trivial text message that killed him. This does happen frequently and it needs to be addressed with a series of adverts as striking as the ‘reduce your speed’ television campaign.”
An online ‘driving challenge’ game –which demonstrates how using a mobile at the wheel can completely distract the driver – is also being circulated online via social networking communities and entertainment sites.
Road Safety Minister, Fitzpatrick commented on the latest campaign, stating: “The message that mobile phones and driving should not mix is getting through to the majority of drivers, but some people are still needlessly risking their own lives and putting others in danger for the sake of a text or a call. Our message to all drivers is simple: Don’t use your mobile phone when you’re driving.”
Using a hand-held mobile phone while driving was made illegal in December 2003 by Section 26 of the Road Safety Act 2006 and currently carries a £60 fine and a possible three-point deduction from a driver’s licence. Sign the Roadpeace petition here.