Tune in to road safety

Cars, buses and motorbike traffic in town

Appeal to young drivers: switch off your phone

A campaign launched by the charity Brake at the start of Road Safety Week calls on drivers across Scotland to tune into road safety, to prevent appalling crashes caused by multitasking at the wheel. The campaign appeals to drivers to turn off their phones or put them in the boot, and urges everyone to refuse to speak on the phone to someone who’s driving. It’s being launched almost a decade after hand-held mobiles at the wheel were banned and coincides with a week-long enforcement campaign.

The campaign was launched in Scotland at Heriott Watt University's Edinburgh Campus on Monday 18 November at an event supported by Digby Brown Solicitors. The campaign is being supported by Transport Scotland and Police Scotland, who are coordinating a week-long campaign of heightened police enforcement across the country targeting drivers on hand-held phones.

Road Safety Week photo

Fraser Simpson, Brake Spokesperson in Scotland (front row, right) joins others from Heriott Watt University and Police Scotland to launch Road Safety Week 2013 in Scotland 

Distraction reduces hazard perception and increases reaction times in a similar way to drink-driving, making drivers much more likely to cause deaths and injuries . Drivers who think they can multi-task are fooling themselves: research shows 98% are unable to divide their time without it affecting performance . Talking on a phone hand-held or hands free, texting, emailing, adjusting sat navs, eating, drinking and smoking are all proven to increase crash risk.

At Digby Brown, we know from first-hand experience the very real and tragic consequences of road traffic crashes.  Every year, we provide legal support and representation to thousands of people affected by road traffic crashes across Scotland.

Fraser Simpson, spokesperson from Brake, the road safety charity, said: “We’re living in an age when being constantly connected is the norm; more and more of us have smartphones, and find it hard to switch off, even for a minute. While there are enormous benefits to this new technology, it’s also posing dangerous temptations to drivers to divert their concentration away from the critical task at hand, often putting our most vulnerable road users in danger. Many people who wouldn't dream of drink-driving are succumbing to using their phone and other distractions while driving, oblivious that the effect can be similar and the consequences just as horrific. We’re calling on Scotland’s drivers to tune into road safety: turn off your phone or put it in the boot, and never try to multi-task at the wheel. We’re also appealing to everyone to refuse to chat to someone on the phone who’s driving, to help them arrive safely.”

Fraser Oliver, Chief Executive of Digby Brown Solicitors, said: “We are proud to be supporting Road Safety Week, and working with Brake to help reduce crashes on our roads caused by distracted drivers. At Digby Brown we know from our first-hand experience of representing individuals and families the very real consequences of unsafe driving. We know that staying focused is vital to ensuring you’re safe at the wheel, enabling you to spot hazards in time and react quickly in an emergency. We’re urging as many people as possible to pledge to tune into road safety and avoid distractions at the wheel. If all of us who use Scotland’s roads get behind this campaign, we can make a huge difference in preventing casualties and making our streets safer places.”

More Information

Fraser Simpson is a Digby Brown Partner and head of the firm’s Union and Industrial Disease Departments. In addition to his legal commitments, Fraser volunteers as a media spokesperson for Brake, the road safety charity in Scotland.

Digby Brown sponsor the Brake helpline in Scotland which is for anyone who has been bereaved or seriously injured in a crash or their carers, whether the crash happened recently or a long time ago.The Brake helpline can be reached by calling 0845 603 8570 or by emailing helpline@brake.org.uk

Brake is an independent road safety charity. Brake exists to stop the five deaths and 63 serious injuries that happen on UK roads every day and to care for families bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes. Brake runs awareness-raising campaigns, community education programmes, events such as Road Safety Week (18-24 November 2013), and a Fleet Safety Forum, providing advice to companies. Brake’s support division cares for road crash victims through a helpline and other services.

Road Safety Week is the UK’s flagship event to promote safer road use, coordinated annually by the charity Brake and involving thousands of schools, communities and organisations across the country. Road Safety Week 2013 takes place 18-24 November.