South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership
News
19 Feb 2024
HANDS ON THE WHEEL - OFF YOUR PHONE
With rising numbers of people being killed or seriously injured in traffic collisions, road safety officers are reminding drivers about the dangers of using a mobile phone behind the wheel.

South Yorkshire Police, along with members of the South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership, are backing a national campaign to protect lives by highlighting the need to give the road your full attention.

As well as being illegal, using a mobile phone while driving makes you four-times more likely to be involved in a collision – putting your own life and other lives at risk.

Chief Inspector Peter Spratt, of South Yorkshire Police’s Operational Support Unit, said: “We know that people are addicted to their screens, but the fact is that using your mobile while driving could cost you your life.

“If your eyes or your hands are on your mobile phone, you are less likely to see hazards, you won’t be in full control of your vehicle and your reaction time will be affected.

“On the road, you have to expect the unexpected – you aren’t in control of what other people are doing, but you can be in control of your own actions. Whatever is on your mobile phone, it can wait.

“Life is precious. Please don’t risk it.”

In 2023 in South Yorkshire, more than 800 drivers were caught using a mobile phone while driving. Of those, 520 paid a fine and had points added to their licence, 201 were prosecuted and 25 attended an educational course.
And with the law changing in March 2022 to include ‘all uses’ of handheld mobile phones while driving, identifying those breaking the law is much easier.

“The law was updated to include a range of actions including illuminating the screen, scrolling, listening to voicemail – anything at all that involves touching or activating a handheld device,” added Chief Inspector Spratt.

“And the law applies while you’re waiting at traffic lights or queuing in traffic – even if your engine automatically switches itself off.

“The only time it is legal to use your mobile phone while driving a car is if you are safely parked up, or if it’s an emergency and it’s not safe to stop.

“To help avoid temptation, put your phone in your glove box, silence notifications or use one of the applications available to block use while driving.”

Latest figures show that the number of people seriously injured in a collision on our county’s roads has risen by five per cent. That equates to around 15 people every week.

Among the leading causation factors are distracted driving, failure to look and driving without due care and attention.

A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership said: “We know that the majority of road users in our county do not use their mobile phone while driving and are concerned by the minority who do.

“Our brains are simply not designed to multi-task in this way. You may believe you are an above average driver, but the reality is that you can’t focus on the road if you’re checking your messages or scrolling through social media.

“Have the conversation with friends and don’t feel pressure to reply to calls or messages – your friends and family will understand.

“All they care about is you coming home safe. Life is precious.”

As part of the three-week campaign, SYSRP is sharing Durham Police’s ‘Life is Precious’ initiative which was launched in memory of a family who were killed by a lorry driver who was distracted by his mobile phone.