Drivers who record or stream videos while behind the wheel are the target of an annual one-day campaign taking place today (16 April).
Don’t Stream and Drive Day is an online campaign, founded in 2016 by Sgt Neil Dewson-Smyth who likens the current level of danger associated with mobile phone use, to that posed by drink driving 50 years ago.
He also believes that current legislation ‘has conditioned drivers to believe that handsfree is safe’ – adding this may take ‘decades to correct’.
Running with the strapline ‘distracted driving kills’, the campaign highlights the dangers of all mobile phone use at the wheel, and in particular recording and sharing video footage.
Sgt Dewson-Smyth says Don’t Stream and Drive Day consolidates the year-round efforts of police forces and road safety stakeholders to deal with issues relating to mobile phone use by drivers.
Campaign supporters include GEM Motoring Assist, who says it is hard to understand why any driver would think live-streaming was a good idea.
Neil Worth, GEM road safety officer, said: “Quite frankly it’s hard to believe that anyone would live-stream while in control of a car. After all, why add another layer of entirely avoidable distraction to the already complex task of driving?
“Our message to drivers who still think it’s acceptable to use a hand-held mobile phone for any purpose while driving is simple. Please put it down and give 100% concentration on safe driving.”
Don’t Stream and Drive Day aims to remind drivers that using a mobile phone at the wheel will make them:
- Less aware of what is going on around them
- Fail to see road signs
- Fail to maintain lane/road position or consistent speed
- More likely to tailgate
- Have increased reaction times, take longer to brake and stop
- More likely to enter unsafe gaps in traffic
Road users can support the campaign on social media by using the hashtag #DontStreamAndDrive.
In a blog post published in the lead up to the event, Sgt Dewson-Smyth said: “I am totally convinced that distracted driving engendered by mobile phone use is our new drink drive.
“Fifty years of campaigning and drink driving is still a problem. Much less than it used to be but still there.
“The use of mobile phones by drivers is heading down that road and will take us decades to correct. In my view, this has, to some part, been assisted by legislation that has conditioned drivers to believe that handsfree is safe.
“Distracted drivers are on our roads. They are in the car in front of you, the car behind you, the car alongside you and the car going the other way. They put you, themselves and every other road user at increased risk.
“I encourage you to get involved on 16 April. Post some content. Post a message that is important to you about road safety and how you feel about the dangers created by streaming drivers.”