Campaign launched to highlight the dangers of driving and using a mobile phone

A national campaign to highlight the dangers of using a mobile phone at the wheel will launch in South Yorkshire next week.

Thursday, 3rd February 2022, 4:56 pm

Using a handheld mobile phone while driving makes you four times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a road traffic collision– with 17-24-year-old men most at risk.

From Monday, (7 February), South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership (SYSRP) will support the campaign using digital billboards and a new Instagram video urging all drivers; ‘In the car – put your phone away’.

Joanne Wehrle, manager of SYSRP, said: “It’s absolutely vital that we continue to emphasise the dangers of being distracted by a mobile phone while in the car.

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Driving while using a mobile phone can have devastating consequences

“We will be asking drivers to think about whether a text or call is really worth the points, their licence, job or even their life?

“Our message is simple – in the car, put your phone away. Use the glove box, put it on silent or out of reach and remember it is still illegal to use your mobile while

stopped at traffic lights or in queueing traffic.”

The current law states that it’s illegal to use a handheld mobile when driving including using a handheld phone to follow a map, read a text or check social media.

If you’re caught, you’ll get six penalty points on your licence and a fine of £200. If you get six points in the first two years after passing your test, you will automatically lose

your licence.

Using a hands-free device (for example, for navigation) is not illegal. However, if this distracts you and affects your ability to drive safely, you can still be prosecuted by the police.

You can only use a handheld phone if you are safely parked or need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop.

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“Any type of distraction can be deadly,” added Joanne. “Research shows that drivers using a hands-free or a handheld mobile phone are slower at recognising and reacting to hazards.

“Your reaction times are two times slower if you text and drive than if you drink drive.

“Even careful drivers can be distracted by a call or text – and a split-second lapse in concentration could result in a crash.”

The campaign will run for three weeks and South Yorkshire Police’s road traffic team will be carrying out enforcement activity as part of daily business.

Roads Policing Acting Inspector Brandon Brown said: “Using your mobile phone behind the wheel is dangerous and costs lives, people die, it is a fact.

“While we still see people put their phones to their ear to take a call, we are increasingly seeing younger drivers scroll through social media, text, use apps and take photographs and videos.

“People are addicted to their mobile phones. If you find it hard to put it down while driving, store it out of sight and reach.”

You can follow the #noexcuse campaign on social media via @SYSaferRoads or for more information visit: https://sysrp.co.uk/mobiles

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.