Driver distraction is a serious road safety issue. It is often the initial cause of a chain of events that results in serious road trauma.
There are many potential causes of driver distraction: objects, events, or activities both inside and outside the vehicle can cause distraction.
This campaign focuses on passengers and drivers questioning the use of mobile phones when behind the wheel.
It is simply unrealistic to expect drivers not to be distracted from time to time. However, within a Safe System, drivers need to ensure their journeys are safe by reducing the risk of driver distraction wherever they can. Choosing not to use a mobile phone while driving is one area they can do this, but it needs to become a habitual part of what it is to be a safe and competent driver.
People think that it’s dangerous to use their mobile phone while they are driving, yet many people still do it. Consequently, there is a gap between people’s attitudes and their behaviour. This campaign aims to lessen this gap and focuses on targeting drivers who are distracted when using a mobile phone in their vehicle.
The campaign specifically targets young drivers in their twenties who constantly use their mobile phones. This audience has grown up with technology and most of the time they use it on autopilot, e.g. they use their mobile phone instinctively from when they get up in the morning until they go to sleep at night.
Using a mobile phone while driving is actually viewed as unacceptable by many people when they’re asked about it; yet it’s still a behaviour that is readily undertaken and there’s currently little social stigma attached to it. Cultural change will only occur when people start publicly stating that they have an issue with it. This hasn’t really started happening yet.
Although our audience regularly uses their mobile phones (checking social media, texting, playing music and using apps), there are certain social situations where they’re starting to evaluate whether or not it’s ok to do so, e.g. on a first date or during live theatre. What creates this continuous evaluation is the thought that someone might have an issue with what they’re doing.
The campaign aims to use this insight and encourages young drivers to question their use of mobile phones while driving. It’s the first step in getting young people to view things from a different perspective – their passenger’s. By showing them that their passengers find their flippant mobile phone use unacceptable in the car, our audience will start to reconsider its appropriateness.
The campaign launched on 27 March 2016 and has a large digital online and social presence. The campaign is also supported with radio spots for in-car moments.
The distraction campaigns are supported with a range of driver distraction education tools and interactive learning functions.