The Department for Transport (DfT) have launched a campaign to help bring awareness to drivers of the dangers of using your phone whilst behind the wheel, entitled THINK! Put your phone away.
From today, the penalties will increase for those caught using a handheld phone while driving. Both fine and penalty points will double: from £100 to £200 and from 3 to 6 points.
Research shows that there is growing concern about the number of people using their mobile phone while driving – 96% of the pubic agree that it is unacceptable – but 31% still admit to doing it.
The use of handheld mobile phones while driving has been illegal since 2003, yet despite existing deterrents, the behaviour remains prevalent. It is therefore essential to not just communicate the tougher penalties, but to also highlight the risks of using your phone while driving, if we are to change behaviour.
In a recent Co-op Insurance poll almost two-fifths of drivers are unaware that fines for using mobile phones while driving are about to double.
Some 39 per cent did not know that the infraction will warrant six penalty points and a £200 fine.
Of the 1,500 UK drivers surveyed 30 per cent of drivers admit to using their phone at the wheel, while over half do not believe that doubling fines and points will deter offenders.
The THINK! campaign will be launched in England & Wales aiming to inform drivers of the new legislation and alert them to the risks of using a phone while driving.
The campaign consists of outdoor posters and radio ads to inform where to put your phone when driving along with a series of films that dramatise the dangers of using your mobile phone while driving.
In-car merchandise will also be available. Stickers consisting of the words ‘phone compartment’ are to be stuck on the glove compartment of your car as well as mirror hang tags for car rental companies consisting of information about the new legislation.
A 40 second and 60 second downloadable film is available to download that highlights the story of Zoe Carvin, a husband and mother of two, who was killed 11 years ago by a driver texting on his phone.
From mid-March a leaflet for professional drivers to educate them about the risk to their licence if caught using a hand held phone while driving will be available.
There will also be a separate leaflet for employers to highlight their responsibility in ensuring the safe use of mobile phones while driving, and provide best practice for them to share with their employees.
THINK! will also be sharing digital content, key facts and campaign information on their Facebook and Twitter pages. This will include quizzes to educate drivers about the new legislation, and address common questions surrounding mobile phone use and the law.
This will be in conjunction with RAC’s ‘Be Phone Smart’ campaign and will tag all posts with the #bephonesmart hashtag.
The Driving Instructors Association (DIA) will support the campaign running a feature within it’s monthly membership magazine Driving Instructor.
Click here to visit the THINK! website to find out more information on the campaign.