Video#MyRedThumb reminds motorists “Be smart – don’t use your phone while driving”

My Red ThumbMy Red Thumb

Posted on: 12 May 2016

The dangers of riding and driving while using hand-held mobile devices will be highlighted at the annual My Red Thumb Day.

The road safety awareness campaign, on Thursday 12 May, was launched in Devon in 2014 as a multi-agency road safety initiative and has since grown to become a national event.

My Red Thumb - campaign partners

My Red Thumb – campaign partners

The social media campaign aims to raise awareness of the risks of distractions, specifically those associated with using a mobile phone, while driving.

It’s illegal to ride a motorcycle or drive using hand-held phones or similar devices, and the rules are the same if you’re stopped at traffic lights or when queuing in traffic.

Drivers using a phone while at the wheel are not only less aware of what is happening around them, but they react more slowly and take longer to brake. They are also four times more likely to crash, injuring or killing themselves and/or other people, according to research by RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents).

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “The My Red Thumb campaign has really taken off over the last couple of years and last year more road safety partners from around the country helped to promote it than ever before. I think its success illustrates the power of social media, and the campaign has clearly tapped into the type of communications which is widely used today, particularly by younger drivers. We want people to show their support for the campaign by sharing their red thumb selfies on social media.

“When you’re driving, using your mobile is completely out of the question. Some people aren’t just calling or texting – they are also checking social media, taking selfies or even playing games. Any use is dangerous while driving and it’s not worth risking your life or those around you. I hope that people take note of some of the stories highlighted in this campaign and will think twice before reaching for their mobile.”

Sergeant Olly Tayler, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said: “Many motorists still risk their lives and the lives of others by using their mobile phone while driving. As well as being illegal it is exceptionally dangerous. Even looking down for a moment can lead to tragedy. Nothing is so important that a driver needs to use their phone while driving. MyRedThumb is a great campaign that anyone can get involved with and I’d encourage everyone to do their bit for road safety by supporting it not only on the 12th May but throughout the year.”

Laura Pratt, of Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, said: “This year we will be trying to get as many people as possible to help us spread the message about the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving. We will be promoting the messages though social media as well as through engagement events throughout the service area. We have also purchased silicone thumb rings to promote the message and act as a visual reminder not to use a mobile phone while driving, and to challenge drivers who do.”

Martyn Callow, of the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said: “South Western Ambulance Service is delighted to be working in partnership with colleagues from fellow emergency services and Devon County Council to raise awareness about the importance of driving safely. Every year we attend hundreds of incidents which could have been prevented if people drove with due care and attention. The use of mobile phones while driving is incredibly dangerous and despite repeated warnings we see first-hand the devastating effects that it causes. We welcome the campaign and are pleased to be involved.”

The advice to motorists before starting a journey is:

Turn off your phone or put it on silent.
Put your phone out of reach where you will not be tempted to reach for it.

And when making a journey:

If your phone rings, ignore it or ask a passenger to take the call for you.
If you need to make a call, first find a sensible place to stop and turn off your engine.

For more information visit the My Red Thumb website. On Twitter @MyRedThumb or go to Facebook.com/myredthumb

Posted in: DCC Homepage | Environment