04 Feb 2008
Think! switch off before you drive off
A new THINK! campaign to highlight the dangers of using a mobile phone when driving was launched by Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick.
The £1.5m campaign, featuring a new radio advert as well as the hard-hitting television advert launched last year, will remind drivers to switch off before getting behind the wheel. It is timed to coincide with the first anniversary of the introduction of tougher penalties for using a mobile phone when driving.
Jim Fitzpatrick said:
"Talking on a mobile phone when driving is distracting and affects your ability to react to dangerous situations, making you four times more likely to have a crash.
"That is why we increased the penalty for illegally using a mobile when driving to three penalty points and a £60 fine. Our latest research shows the message is getting through to drivers but some people are still needlessly risking their own lives and putting others in danger for the sake of a phone call. I urge all drivers to switch off or go to voicemail before they drive off."
Recent research showed a 40% reduction in the number of car drivers seen using hand-held mobiles at the wheel between September 2006 and August 2007. Just 1% of car drivers were observed using a hand-held mobile while driving, compared with 1.7% in 2006.