Cycling UK has expressed its support for the AA Charitable Trust's #NeverTextDrive campaign and expressed its hope that mobile phone use at the wheel will become as taboo as drink-driving. The AA recently launched its campaign with an 11-minute film telling the story of a talented couple determined to break into music industry who have their lives altered by one poor decision.
In an AA Populus poll of 23,141 drivers, 20 per cent claimed to see other drivers on hand-held mobiles on every journey they make. Another 22 per cent said that they see this on most journeys and 56 per cent on some journeys.
Latest Government figures show a 35 per cent increase in fatalities on built-up roads and Edmund King OBE, AA Charitable Trust director, said: “The hike in fatalities on built-up roads by more than a third is staggering and may be due to driver inattention from excessive use of mobile phones at the wheel.”
The yearlong #NeverTextDrive campaign has begun with the launch of the film above, entitled Cadence.
Emmeline Kellie, who wrote, starred in and produced the film, said: “People just don’t realise it only takes one moment to glance at a text and it can all go wrong behind the wheel; and that it only needs to go wrong once.”
Cycling UK's Senior Road Safety and Legal Campaigns Officer, Duncan Dollimore, said of the campaign:
"Now is the time to make distracted driving, like texting and driving, as taboo as not wearing a seatbelt or drink-driving. That's why Cycling UK is full of praise for the AA Charitable Trust's impactful video and social media campaign #NeverTextDrive. The AA’s new campaign is fantastic, but we also need drivers to fear the loss of their licence as well.
"We must tackle this problem head-on because it led to 22 deaths and 440 crashes last year. The devastating consequences of distracted driving are vividly portrayed in this film and hopefully the AA’s efforts to affect behavioural change, together with the Government’s recent announcement intending to increase penalties for mobile phone use while driving, will help to make this mobile madness socially unacceptable."
King said that despite deaths caused by drivers distracted by phones, the problem was 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.”