Using a mobile while driving the car is a severe offence everywhere in the world and the UK is no exception. The UK government has doubled the penalty points for motorists found using mobile phones while they are behind the wheel. While we all know that we seldom break promises made in public, the RAC has created a website called BePhoneSmart.uk which facilitates people to make a public promise of never using handhelds while driving.
The website allows motorists to pledge with their friends on Facebook or with their Twitter followers. The site was designed to bring a positive change in people to prevent accidents and save lives on the road. It would also save money as the fine for using the mobile has reached to £200 from the 1st of March. Tougher Mobile phone laws were announced as the Department for Transport discovered that use of mobile was one of the main reasons behind the 2100 accidents that occurred between 2011 and 2015.
According to statistics by the RAC, 47% of drivers check social media messages while waiting at the traffic signals, 31% admitted to talking on the phone while driving and 14% accepted that they take photos while driving. In addition, one fourth of the UK motorists check texts, emails and social media messages while driving. To combat this, the insurance provider has come up with the wonderful idea of making public declaration on not using mobile gadgets while driving.
The government, police, road safety charity IAM RoadSmart and campaigners of road safety have encouraged this unique method of raising awareness in the UK motorists. It was made live on the 1st of March 2017 with an open invitation to the drivers to make the following pledges:
Never use handheld gadgets when the motorist is driving
Not to check mobiles while waiting on the traffic signals
Focus only on driving while one is behind the wheels
Inform their friends, near and dear ones about the promise and encourage them to make one for the individual as well as public safety
The company also emphasized that educating the motorists about the disastrous effects of using mobiles while driving is a big necessity in today’s time. RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: “We recognise that tackling a problem as complex as the UK’s mobile phone one was going to require a huge amount of effort. Tougher laws, as introduced today, combined with targeted enforcement by police forces and a sustained package of education telling drivers about the risks of driving distracted are all crucial.
“At the same time, encouraging motorists to take personal responsibility for their actions – and to really think about the relationship they have with their Smartphone when they get in the driver’s seat – needs to be at the heart of a campaign to change their behaviour.
“We created BePhoneSmart.uk so that drivers can take a positive step by committing to not using a handheld phone – quite simply, to make an online promise to keep within the law, to keep their focus on the road ahead, and to share the message on to other people that they know.
“Choosing to use a handheld phone at the wheel is a personal decision, and so is choosing to give up the habit. The more individual drivers, businesses and other organizations we can get making the promise, the greater motivation others will have to change their behavior – and together the roads can be made a safer place.”
To sum up, use of mobile phones has become a serious threat to road safety. It should be discouraged by all means and positive initiatives from organisations like RAC should be applauded and applied to ensure that road journeys are safer. Let us hope that all drivers across the UK make a public promise for not using mobile phones while being behind the wheel.
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