Mobile Phones to be the biggest killer on the roads by 2015?
Lawyers from Clarke Willmott have welcomed a safety campaign being undertaken by Police in the Midlands which started this week and is designed to reduce the unacceptable practice of mobile phone use whilst driving.
The Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG) alongside colleagues in the West Midlands, Staffordshire and West Mercia are having a two week campaign of dedicated patrols looking for drivers using their mobile phones, targeting not only those making phone calls, but also people who text or use social media whilst behind the wheel. HGV drivers will be monitored during the campaign using a special tractor unit allowing Police to see into the cab.
The CMPG have confirmed that many drivers using their phones will be compelled to attend driver improvement courses where the evidence about the dangers of mobile phone use whilst driving will be explained to them, hopefully resulting in a life long change in attitude. There will also be prosecutions in appropriate cases.
Using mobile phones whilst driving has been illegal now for 10 years, and although incidences of drink driving remain unacceptably high, there seems to be an increased level of condemnation amongst the community for those who drive whilst over the legal limit, whereas this has not happened to the same extent with the use of mobile phones. When you learn that evidence shows using a mobile phone can reduce reaction times by 30 per cent when compared to someone who is just over the drink driving limit, let alone 50% slower than a sober driver, it is clear that campaigns such as the one by CMPG are not only welcome but vital in seeking to reduce the carnage on our roads, and the unnecessary and avoidable loss of life and serious injury inflicted on innocent road users. The campaign is being supported by a Staffordshire mother who tragically lost her daughter who was standing on a grass verge after a car breakdown when a lorry driver who was browsing the internet on his phone crashed into the car, causing it to go flying over the crash barrier and into collision with the young woman who tragically lost her life. Stories like this bring home the real human impact of the consequences of mobile phone use whilst driving, and hopefully if some good is to come out such a terrible event, will make other people think twice before reaching for their phone when they are behind the wheel. One Government study suggests that mobile phone use will be the biggest cause of deaths on the road by 2015.
Philip Edwards, a Partner specialising in Fatal and Serious Injury Claims at Clarke Willmott in Birmingham said:-
“Almost everyone reading this will have suffered a bereavement in their lives. Many people will know of someone who has sustained a life changing serious injury. If people think about the terrible emotional, financial and physical consequences of such things, then maybe they will realise using a mobile phone whilst driving is not worth the risk. If drivers think they can drive perfectly well whilst using a mobile phone, they are simply wrong. The statistics are frightening and ought to be a wake up call for people tempted to use their phone whilst driving – you increase your risk of being involved in a crash causing death or serious injury by four times. I welcome the CMPG campaign and hope it is another step towards mobile phone use behind the wheel becoming culturally unacceptable and these avoidable deaths and injuries becoming eradicated”
Advice from the road safety campaign “Think!” should always be followed and says:-
- Don’t make or answer calls when you’re driving – All phone calls distract drivers’ attention from the road.
- It’s illegal to use a hand-held mobile when driving on the road even if you’ve stopped at traffic lights or are stuck in a traffic jam or are in a car park – All these situations are covered by the legal definition of ‘driving on the road’.
- Park safely before using your mobile phone – Do not park on the hard shoulder of the motorway.
- Don’t call other people when they’re driving – If you call someone and they tell you they are driving, ask them to call you back when they have parked up safely.
You can follow the CMPG campaign on Twitter at @CMPG
Image credit: mobile phone