Commenting on the report by the Transport Select Committee on using a mobile phone whilst driving*, Edmund King, AA president says; “As the report indicates it is crucial that we continue to raise public awareness of the dangers of using a phone at the wheel and change attitudes to its use as we have with drink driving. The 2017 AA Trust ad campaign, supported by THINK!, showed that drivers using a handheld mobile phone are twice as likely to crash texting as they are drink-driving**. It carried the message ‘You wouldn’t drink and drive. Don’t text and drive.”
“Reinforcing education, such as government Think! advertising on drink drive or seatbelts, has been shown to work if the messaging is consistent over time. Roadside checks by TRL found that, when there was an advertising campaign or discussion over new legislation, the observed incidence of drivers using a hand-held mobile phone dropped.
“Enforcement is also key. Even the more stringent penalties have had less effect than the expected on mobile phone abuse because offenders think the chance of being caught is minimal.
“Following a reduction of specialist traffic officers by a third***, a good deterrent would be to have more cops in cars targeting those tempted to pick up the phone. As the Prime Minister has promised to hire an additional 20,000 police officers****, we hope some of these will focus on improving road safety and catching dangerous drivers.”