Yesterday, Friday 25 November 2016, The AA Trust launched their new, year long campaign to stop text driving and to change attitudes and behaviours around driver distraction.
Although the government intends to increase the penalties for using a mobile at the wheel to six penalty points and a £200 fine, the AA Trust believes changing behaviour is just as important.
In fact it’s the only way. Drivers are quite happy to risk their own death by speeding but never speed in the presence of a Police Car. It is the fear of the punishment that works and while drivers think they will not get caught they will just carry on. This was said in a speech by an MP in the House back in the 1950s but I can’t remember his name and find a link. Drinking and driving is now pretty much a social faux pas and has been brought about by social and peer pressure. We have to do the same with texting and mobile phones.
|Scene from film Cadence|
Latest Government figures show a 35% increase in fatalities on built-up roads. The report said that there had been 200 fatalities on roads with a maximum of 40 mph between April and June 2016, compared to 148 deaths for the same period in 2015.Edmund King OBE, AA Charitable Trust director, said: “Despite horrific and tragic deaths caused by drivers distracted by phones, the problem is still rife. This epidemic of hand held mobile phone use while driving has already cost lives and drivers have demanded action. Three quarters of drivers see others using mobile phones on some or most journeys, with one quarter seeing it on every journey, according to our polls. Our campaign aims to change attitudes but it must be supported by tougher penalties and more cops in cars.”
A total of 24,620 people were killed or seriously injured in the year ending June 2016, up 3% compared to the previous year. For the same period, deaths of car occupants rose by 9% and pedestrians by 3%.
The full AA report with all the data and statistics is here, plus an 11-minute film called Cadence, which is also on YouTube.
And here is our local Gallery of Shame snapped in just half an hour by a Guardian series photographer on the A406 North Circular.
Meanwhile in Essex - Police fine 80 drivers for using mobile phones behind the wheel in one week.