The AA Trust campaign kicks off with the launch of a new film, 'Cadence'
More than two million car passengers would do nothing if their driver used a hand-held phone whilst driving, according to new research for the AA Charitable Trust.*
The AA Trust today launches a hard-hitting campaign to try to change attitudes and behaviours around driver distraction.
The Government intends to increase the penalties for using a mobile at the wheel to six penalty points and a £200 fine but the AA Trust believes changing behaviour is just as important.
A mother and three children were killed in a crash caused by a lorry driver using a mobile phone in August** and yet a substantial number of passengers would still ignore their driver using a phone. The driver was sentenced to ten years in jail after driving for almost one kilometre changing music on his phone without looking at the road.
Latest Government figures*** show a 35% increase in fatalities on built-up roads. The report said that there had been 200 fatalities on roads with a maximum of 40 mph between April and June 2016, compared to 148 deaths for the same period in 2015.
A total of 24,620 people were killed or seriously injured in the year ending June 2016, up 3% compared to the previous year. For the same period, deaths of car occupants rose by 9% and pedestrians by 3%.
Edmund King OBE, AA 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 AA Populus poll of 23,141 drivers asked: Which of the following would you do if you were a passenger and your driver used their hand-held mobile when driving?
More than one in ten (13%) young drivers (18-24 yrs) find it difficult to ignore a message or email alert on their phones whilst driving. Overall 6% of drivers find this difficult.
An overwhelming 98% of panel members said they had ever seen other drivers using hand-held mobile phones when driving. This figure remains roughly the same as when this question was previously asked in August 2012 (99%).
Statistics for deaths and injuries caused by distracted drivers are probably underestimated as sometimes it is difficult to pinpoint the specific cause. However, using phones at the wheel last year is attributed to 22 deaths and 440 crashes. Other distractions in the vehicle accounted for 61 deaths and 2,920 crashes. Driver distraction was probably a cause in some of the 400 deaths attributed to ‘driver/rider failed to look properly. *****
In order to stop these avoidable deaths, the AA Trust is embarking on a yearlong campaign to change behaviour. The campaign kicks off with the launch of a new film, “Cadence”.
A young film-maker became so uncomfortable by her peers’ driving and use of mobiles at the wheel that she has produced a film with a safety twist, thanks to funding from the AA Charitable Trust.
Emmeline Kellie, who wrote, starred in and produced the film was compelled to do so after becoming such a nervous car passenger with many of her friends because they were always using their mobile phones behind the wheel.
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
Emmeline, who graduated from the University of Derby in Media Production, said: “I saw a road safety presentation when I was at school and it really struck a chord with me.
“Roads make me nervous so I delayed driving for quite a while because I was too scared to take my life into my own hands, but as my friends started using their phones more and more at the wheel, it became clear that I would be safer driving myself.
“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.”
I was keen to work on the Cadence project as it is an unconventional approach to road safety and hopefully will help to save lives
The film also features young London based musician Luke Pickett.
Luke also stars in ‘Cadence’ which features two of his songs, one of which should be released as a single and he also wrote the score for the film.
Luke Pickett, musician, said: “I was keen to work on the Cadence project as it is an unconventional approach to road safety and hopefully will help to save lives.”
The film premieres at the Derby Quad cinema. It will be targeted at social media users, schools, colleges and talks have begun with the Department for Transport Think! campaign and the police for use on educational courses.
Our campaign aims to change attitudes but it must be supported by tougher penalties and more cops in cars
Edmund King OBE, AA Charitable Trust director
Edmund King OBE, AA Charitable Trust director, said: “Despite horrific and tragic deaths caused by drivers distracted by phones, the problem is still 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.”
The University of Derby and Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service also helped the AA Charitable Trust in the production of the film.
(25 November 2016)
*AA Populus survey of 23,141 drivers conducted 13-20 September 2016
*** Department for Transport “Reported road casualties in Great Britain: quarterly provisional estimates year ending June 2016
**** Populus received 26,463 responses from AA members to its online poll between 18th and 25th January 2016. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. For more details go to www.populus.co.uk.