Scottish safety campaign to stop drivers using phone launched

A road safety campaign aimed at stopping people using their phone while driving has been launched in Scotland.

Humza Yousaf has launched a road safety campaign. Picture: Jon Savage
Humza Yousaf has launched a road safety campaign. Picture: Jon Savage

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf announced Looks Can Kill with the A9 Safety Group, which claims motorists are four times more likely to crash if using a mobile while behind the wheel.

New research also shows social media and “in car” technology are causing a major distraction to Scottish drivers.

Mr Yousaf said: “The consequences of using mobile phones for either making calls or for social media are all too apparent. The work being carried out by the A9 Safety Group clearly indicates that drivers are putting both themselves and others at significant risk with this activity.

“The Scottish Government is committed, through Scotland’s Road Safety Framework, to achieving safer road travel in Scotland. I have said many times before that one death on Scotland’s roads is one too many and we will continue to try to make the roads as safe as they possibly can be for all road users.

“Any activity which takes a driver’s concentration away from the driving task is potentially dangerous and we encourage everyone to acknowledge driving as a skill which requires concentration and judgment. I urge all drivers to avoid using mobile phones when behind the wheel.”

The campaign research reveals 30% of people have seen someone using social media while driving and one in five people have witnessed selfies being taken behind the wheel.

A total of 68% of Scots have noticed someone texting behind the wheel and 89% have seen drivers talking on a hand-held mobile phone.

Further research shows that younger drivers use their mobile phones more frequently, with over a third admitting to occasionally sending texts while driving and one in 10 using social media behind the wheel.

One in five Scots would expect someone who is driving to reply to their text and 39% of drivers admit to adjusting their satnav while driving.

Michael McDonnell, of the A9 Safety Group and director of Road Safety Scotland, said: “We hope the new campaign will encourage drivers to plan their journey on the A9 in advance and make sure they plan a sufficient number of stops to use their mobile phones if necessary, rather than risk being distracted at the wheel.

“Nowadays, most people travel the A9 without incident, and we need to try and make sure behaviours which threaten that are eradicated.”

Chief Inspector Louise Blakelock from Police Scotland said: “Mobile phone use continues to be a concern for Police Scotland and the wider use of phones for social media use is now being identified as a contributory factor in a number of collisions. In the last two years a high proportion of fatal and serious accidents on the A9 Trunk Road are likely to have been caused by driver fatigue or distraction.

“In addition to this initiative Police Scotland will be undertaking a national enforcement campaign in July to further raise awareness. The level of concern with this activity was recently reflected in the doubling of the penalties involved for hand held mobile phone use.”