Drivers reminded ‘distractions can be deadly’

09.07 | 4 February 2022 | |

A campaign to highlight the dangers of using a mobile phone at the wheel will launch in South Yorkshire next week.

From Monday (7 Feb), South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership (SYSRP) will run the campaign using digital billboards and a new Instagram video urging drivers: ‘In the car – put your phone away’.

The SYSRP campaign is in support of a national mobile phone campaign being co-ordinated by the National Police Chiefs’ Council, which gets underway with communications activity from 7 February, followed by an increased focus on enforcement from 21 February.

SYRSP says using a handheld mobile phone makes a driver four times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a road traffic collision– with 17-24-year-old males most at risk.

Joanne Wehrle, SYSRP manager, said: “It’s absolutely vital that we continue to emphasise the dangers of being distracted by a mobile phone while in the car.

“We will be asking drivers to think about whether a text or call is really worth the points, their licence, job or even their life?

“Our message is simple – in the car, put your phone away. Use the glove box, put it on silent or out of reach – and remember it is still illegal to use your mobile while stopped at traffic lights or in queueing traffic.”

The current law states it is illegal to use a handheld mobile when driving including using a handheld phone to follow a map, read a text or check social media.

While using a hands-free device – for example, for navigation – is not illegal, SYRSP points out that if this affects the ability to drive safely, a driver can still be prosecuted by the police.

Joanne Wherle added: “Any type of distraction can be deadly. Research shows that drivers using a hands-free or a handheld mobile phone are slower at recognising and reacting to hazards.

“Your reaction times are two times slower if you text and drive than if you drink drive.”

The campaign will run for three weeks and South Yorkshire Police’s road traffic team will be carrying out enforcement activity as part of daily business.

Roads policing acting inspector Brandon Brown said: “While we still see people put their phones to their ear to take a call, we are increasingly seeing younger drivers scroll through social media, text, use apps and take photographs and videos.

“People are addicted to their mobile phones. If you find it hard to put it down while driving, store it out of sight and reach.”

For more information visit or follow the #noexcuse campaign on social media @SYSaferRoads



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