Drivers in Warwickshire are being encouraged to #standupforhangingup as part of a new mobile phone awareness campaign.
The Warwickshire Police campaign aims to change driver behaviours and highlight the consequences of using a mobile phone while on the road.
It is being launched to coincide with a nationwide month of action, being coordinated by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).
As part of the campaign, drivers are being asked to consider how their actions could affect themselves and other people – and to resist temptation.
This can be achieved by setting ground rules – telling work colleagues, friends and family that you will not respond to them while driving – and by putting devices out of sight in a bag, the glove box or the boot.
Insp Jem Mountford said: “We aren’t just asking people not to put a mobile phone to their ear.
“We are seeing more drivers looking down to use a handheld mobile phone to use social media apps, select music, check emails or texting while driving when they should be focussing on the road ahead.
“We are asking these drivers to consider how their actions could affect themselves and other people.
“Whoever you are texting would not want you to have a collision potentially injuring yourself or someone else.
“You may also be fined. Using a mobile phone whilst driving attracts six points and a £200 fine and even if you are using a mobile phone legally, if you are driving whilst not being in proper control of your vehicle you could face three points and £100 fine.”
Highlighting the ‘inconvenient truth’ about hands-free
Warwickshire Police has also teamed up with The Open University to highlight the dangers of using a hands-free device.
While legal, the force says it may come as an ‘inconvenient truth’ to some people that hands free use is just as distracting as handheld phone use and should be avoided wherever possible.
Dr Gemma Briggs, senior lecturer in psychology at The Open University, said: “If you’re distracted by your phone while driving your driving performance is significantly diminished to the extent that you are four times more likely to crash.
“You’re far less likely to notice hazards and will take much longer to react to any hazards you do see.
“This applies equally to hands-free phone use as hand-held use, meaning having two hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road isn’t enough if your mind is elsewhere. Drivers don’t have ’spare’ attention to apply to other tasks – that’s simply not how our brains work.”