Ford has teamed up with British national road safety charity Brake to launch a new campaign to tackle one of the biggest killers on the roads: mobile phone misuse.
In a move to prevent phones from becoming a fatal distraction, Ford and Brake are campaigning to banish handsets from the driver’s sight – and place them in the glove box.
The campaign re-names the glove box as the ‘phone box’ and encourages drivers to keep all handsets hidden when the car is being driven.
Despite new laws and tougher penalties, new research from Ford and Brake reveals that over half of British drivers still admit to using their phone while driving, with over a third (37 per cent) choosing to keep their phone in view.
I suspect that the figure is even higher in Cyprus, where not a day seems to go by without seeing scores of motorists either texting or chatting on their mobiles.
Recently released data from the British Department for Transport (DfT) shows that since 2012 there has been a 79 per cent rise in mobile phone related collisions on UK roads, with fatalities increasing by 88 per cent.
The research also reveals that four in 10 (39 per cent) drivers do not know the historic intended use of the glove box – namely as a place to store driving gloves when the majority of vehicles were designed without roofs.
With one fifth (20 per cent) of the nation stating that they use the space as an in-car dustbin, Ford see the repurposing of the glove box as a simple and effective way of changing driver behaviour to help make roads safer. To provide a visual aid prompting drivers to put their phone out of sight, Ford has created a #MyNewPhonebox sticker.
Brake ambassador and campaign spokesperson, Imogen Cauthery, was just nine years old when she suffered devastating injuries from a car collision caused by the driver using a mobile phone. She said: “There is so much evidence around the dangers of mobile phone use and yet new penalties still aren’t tough enough.
I want so much more from my life that I cannot have because of my injuries. I have two lives, my first one from 1987-1996 and my second one from 1996 onwards. I want my first life back, but that can never happen because someone couldn’t wait to make a phone call.”
Ford will be handing out the #MyNewPhoneBox sticker at the annual Ford DSFL event on November 17-19 at London’s ExCeL. As well as learning about the real danger of mobile phone distraction, newly licensed drivers will also be able to develop the necessary skills for safe driving beyond those taught in standard driver education programmes.
The free training includes hazard recognition, vehicle handling and the avoidance of a wide-range of additional distractions, exemplified through simulated impairment activities in Ford’s Drink and Drug Driving suits.
Jason Wakeford, Director of Campaigns, Public Affairs and Media for Brake said: “We provide essential support to people across the UK who, just like Imogen, have been devastated by road collisions. Working with the Ford DSFL programme to educate new drivers on the importance of driver distractions is the great fit for Brake as we see such shocking data on a daily basis.
“Driving requires 100 per cent of our concentration or the cost could be a human life. This starts with putting your mobile phone out of sight when entering the car.”
Perhaps something similar could be adopted by the Cyprus police for their Christmas road safety campaign.