Two new films have been launched in Northern Ireland in a bid to address the problem of driver distraction.
Launched last Friday (11 March) by Mark H Durkan, Northern Ireland’s environment secretary, the films are targeted at young drivers to tackle what the Department of the Environment describes as ‘the main cause of fatalities’ on Northern Ireland’s roads.
Mr Durkan pointed to statistics which show that over the last five years, 116 people have lost their lives on Northern Ireland’s roads due to driver carelessness. This equates to nearly 40% of the total number of road deaths (298) in the period 2010 to 2014.
The first film (top), ‘Friends’, is a TV ad which targets young drivers carrying young passengers. It uses sports scenes to illustrate how someone can miss a goal or a putt when distracted and then highlights the fatal consequences of a driver being distracted.
The second advert (below), ‘Missing’, will go out on social media and highlights what can happen in two seconds when a driver looks at an incoming text message on their mobile phone.
Launching the films, Mark Durkan said: “Distraction is our key focus in these adverts given the high number of people who have lost their lives due to distraction.
“Young passengers and young drivers are a lethal combination. Young drivers are particularly susceptible to distraction, especially when driving with other young people in the car. What we are clearly saying here is that the car is not a mobile living room.
“Young drivers often don’t have the confidence to challenge horseplay and succumb to group peer pressure so that they don’t spoil the fun. My message to them is: have the confidence to say ‘wise up’. Your car, your rules.
“Passengers, on the other hand, are often unaware that their behaviour puts their driver, who is their friend, at risk. They seem oblivious to their role and responsibilities as road users, mistakenly shifting all the responsibility onto the driver. My message is clear: don’t distract the driver. Distraction kills.”