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Road Safety GB condemns irresponsible One Show feature

Thursday 10th December 2015

Road Safety GB has strongly condemned a One Show feature which shows drivers taking their hands off the wheel and looking away to ‘mime and dance’ while travelling on busy roads.

The feature appeared on the show last night (9 December) as the programme encouraged its viewers to vote in the BBC song of the year competition.

It showed 10 drivers and their passengers ‘miming and dancing’ to the songs nominated for the award, with a number of examples of dangerous road safety practice on display.

Drivers took their hands off the wheel and their eyes off the road, while passengers were seen distracting the driver with some even failing to wear a seatbelt so they could mime and act.

Presenter Alex Jones said “how good was that?” before describing the feature as “brilliant”.

In the same programme, the One Show featured Hampshire’s older drivers programme, sending presenters Jenny Bond and John Sargent through the programme and to report on the good work the scheme has achieved in supporting the safety of older drivers.

Honor Byford, chair of Road Safety GB, said: “Road Safety GB is both surprised and deeply concerned that the BBC could have compiled such an excellent piece on road safety for older drivers, while the same programme also promoted inherently unsafe car-based behaviour - and then to show the two items one after the other?

“The message seems to be that older drivers must be managed and monitored very closely whilst younger people can mess about in their cars and do as they like whilst driving along the same roads where parents, children and older people are also driving, walking and cycling. Clearly the producers or editors didn’t put two and two together at all.

“There was no reason for this feature to be set in people’s cars as they drive – it could just as easily be in the workplace, local club or any other venues where people are not also driving a vehicle with passengers on busy streets.

“We have written to the BBC today asking them to put this right by discouraging the behaviour shown, and to review the feature and remove it from the online archive.”

FOOTNOTE:
You can watch the feature here (skip to 14.45): http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06r6z9s/the-one-show-09122015

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Carlos
This really has got nothing at all to do with 'free speech'. The fact is the feature does show behaviour that is at best irresponsible and undesirable and at worst could be deemed dangerous and in part illegal. With a little more thought and care the BBC could have compiled the feature in a way that portrayed responsible in-car behaviour and RSGB is simply saying that as a national broadcaster it is regrettable they did not do so.
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News

Agree (2) | Disagree (0)
+2

Well what a strange view of free speech you have then. I can't really see anything being encouraged in any of those clips having watched them - I'm pretty sure they had their eyes on the road in general.
Carlos

Agree (0) | Disagree (2)
-2

This is not a matter of free speech such as someone expressing a personal opinion and their right to do so. This is a case of a series of films in which a major public broadcaster repeatedly shows and encourages distracting and distracted behaviours and, in at least one clip, unlawful actions, by vehicle drivers and passengers during a peak hour programme. This was done for the sake of entertainment. And it was shown immediately following a very good report about older drivers’ assessments and skills training. We view this as irresponsible and this is the core of our complaint to the BBC.

We will publish the BBC response.
Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB

Agree (4) | Disagree (1)
+3

I think it's not so much the mental distraction of these activities, it's whether we are looking where we're going that matters! Looking away from the road ahead for more than say three seconds, is enough time for an accident to have been triggered and not be prevented.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (2) | Disagree (0)
+2

Sorry I have to disagree with removing the content online as this can be a violation of free speech. This is like the campaign to ban Donald J. Trump from the country because of what he said.
Carlos

Agree (2) | Disagree (3)
-1

Crikey! All those disagree's!

The premise is that people can tolerate a significant level of distraction whilst still attending perfectly well to the primary task. Does the nature of the distraction change our ability to tolerate it or are all distractions equally distracting? Is a car full of singing people better or worse than sending a text for example.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

Agree (1) | Disagree (3)
-2

Hard evidence of lots of ordinary folk exhibiting 'bad behaviour' behind the wheel, but if you look at the clip carefully you'll see that there is a lot more going on than first meets the eye. Ignore everything else and concentrate on the drivers actions, direction of vision and points of timing which appear to be much the same as the actions, direction of vision and points of timing that were exhibited by the presenters of the older drivers piece. The clips seems to show that the human being can tolerate a huge amount of distraction and yet still be able to attend to the primary task with no ill effect.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

Agree (4) | Disagree (50)
-46

I am concerned but not surprised. The BBC (and other media) regularly conducts interviews with people who are driving. On one hand presenters will tell you that being on camera requires attention to detail, concentration, quick thinking and often the benefit of an auto-cue, yet regularly BBC interviews drivers whilst they are on the public highway. Any HSE audit of this practice would surely identify the risks to BBC employees from being in a car with such distractions to the driver.

I suspect there are many out-takes from such interviews which have resulted in crashes.

Worst of all is when you get a report on road safety which shows such distracted driving practice.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (18) | Disagree (3)
+15

Brake joins with Road Safety GB in strongly condemning what is an appalling lack of judgement by the BBC One Show team, in seemingly encouraging drivers to be distracted whilst driving.
Brake, the road safety charity. UK.

Agree (37) | Disagree (5)
+32

If RSGB are complaining to the BBC at all on road behaviour, then it would have been more useful if they complained about The One Show's own reporters /presenters regularly seen taking their eyes of the road whilst driving, to 'present' to the camera. I think it's more irresponsible than singing and miming to music whilst driving - at least they're looking ahead.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (32) | Disagree (28)
+4