Mobile Phones and Vehicles – a deadly combination
Groundbreaking technology is being deployed in Sussex to combat in-vehicle mobile phone use.
Sussex Safer Roads Partnership is cracking down on the use of mobile phones in vehicles. A pioneering piece of equipment, known as a Vehicle Activated Sign (VAS) has been funded by SSRP, for use by Brighton and Hove City Council initially. The VAS will be able to detect the use of mobile phones within vehicles whenever they drive past the sign.
Despite being against the law for fourteen years now, the advancement in technology results in mobile phone use still being very prominent in cars. The SSRP aims to spark behavioural change in the county, which motorists can then use nationally. This technology, developed by a local company called Thermotor, is to be trialled in the Brighton and Hove district to begin with. The technology will be deployed pan-Sussex once the trial has been found to be successful.
An IAM survey, questioning 500 people, results in the following findings:
- 18% claimed to have accessed the internet while driving (27% of those aged 18-24 years, and 34% aged 25-34 years)
- 8% of those questioned admitted to driving while using a video application such as FaceTime and Skype to make and receive video calls, rising to 16% among those aged 18-24 years.
- 7% admitted to watching videos and ‘catch-up television’ while driving – rising to 13% of those aged 18-24 years and 15% of 25-32 year olds.
- 9% of all respondents admitted to taking a ‘selfie’ while driving in the last month. This increased to 15% of respondents aged 18-24 years, and 19% of those aged 25-35 years. 5% of female respondents admitted doing so, compared to 12% of males.
It is important to stress that whilst it is the law to not use a mobile phone whilst driving, this SSRP campaign is entirely educational. The idea is to alert drivers to the law, and spark behavioural change, instead of issuing fines and points.