The Hertfordshire Road Safety Partnership has launched a new campaign in an effort to encourage drivers to put away their mobile phones at the start of a journey.
‘Put It Away’ has been developed on the back of an internal survey in which a quarter of respondents admitted to using their handheld mobile phones behind the wheel in the last six months.
It is being officially launched today through Thunderclap, a crowdspeaking platform. To date, the campaign has more than 100 supporters, equating to a social reach of more than 225,000 social media users.
Each supporter will send an automated tweet/status at the time of the launch, reading: “Answering a call is never worth somebody else’s life. You don’t need your phone while you’re driving. Put It Away.”
Hertfordshire Road Safety Partnership says in the average time it takes to read a text on the motorway, a driver will have travelled the length of a football pitch without looking at the road. The campaign also reminds motorists that whether they are driving or stopped in traffic, using a handheld mobile phone is against the law.
Terry Douris, Hertfordshire County Council, said: “Despite the evidence that mobile phones are extremely distracting to drivers, many continue to check texts, answer calls, and browse social media.
“Through the Put it Away campaign, we will work together with our partners to ensure that Hertfordshire drivers are clear on the law and aware of the consequences of driving while distracted.
“The problem is not necessarily with new drivers – our research shows that men aged between 45 and 64 are the most likely to believe they’re safe using a mobile phone behind the wheel.
David Lloyd, police and crime commissioner for Hertfordshire, said: “There have been recent high profile cases of drivers killing fellow motorists by doing something as basic as changing the music on their phone.
“There is no excuse for this sort of behaviour and the use of a mobile phone at the wheel should be seen in the same light as drink driving – it is simply unacceptable behaviour.”