Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

AA Driving Home Message on Texting; Film Tells How One Single Moment at the Wheel Can Have Tragic Consequences

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

AA Driving Home Message on Texting; Film Tells How One Single Moment at the Wheel Can Have Tragic Consequences

Article excerpt

Byline: David Williams

DRIVING in London is a challenge for even the best drivers, which makes it all the more shocking when you see motorists concentrating not on what's going on around them but on their mobile phones.

Now the AA has decided to do something about it, with a year-long campaign aimed at shifting people's attitudes to how they deal with driver distraction. It is launching it with a powerful new film graphically demonstrating

how one simple act -- texting while driving -- can wreck lives.

A survey of 23,141 motorists found a quarter of those in London witnessed other drivers using hand-held mobile phones on every single journey.

Despite this, more than two million car passengers admitted they would do nothing if their driver used a handheld phone while driving. Nearly six in 10 would ask the driver to stop using their phone if they were a passenger at the time, and half said they would offer to take the call for them. Only 12 per cent would take the phone away, and one per cent would report them to the police. Five per cent would be annoyed yet "do nothing" and one per cent said it "wouldn't bother them".

Now -- as the Government intends to increase the penalties for using a mobile at the wheel to six penalty points and a PS200 fine -- the AA Trust says it's clear that changing drivers' behaviour is vital, too.

Why? Latest Government figures show a 35 per cent increase in fatalities on built-up roads, revealing 200 fatalities on roads with a maximum of 40mph between April and June 2016, compared to 148 deaths for the same period in 2015. A total of 24,620 people were killed or seriously injured in the year ending June 2016, up three per cent compared to the previous year. Deaths of car occupants rose by nine per cent and pedestrians by three per cent. "The hike in fatalities on built-up roads by more than a third is staggering and may be due to driver inattention," says AA Trust director Edmund King. …

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