Mobile campaign swings into action
As the THINK! campaign to raise awareness of the change in mobile phone legislation got underway last week, LARSOA's Press & PR spokesperson was involved in a hectic round of interviews with radio stations broadcasting across the country.
Between 8.15am and 1.15pm on 22 January, David Frost conducted interviews (from a central studio) with the following 18 radio stations: Sky Radio News, Imagine FM, Peak 107FM, SGR Gloucester, Fosseway Radio, 102.4Wish FM, The Bay, Northsound Two, GCap Group, BBC Radio Stoke, BBC West Midlands, BBC Radio York, BBC Radio Lancashire, BBC Radio Swindon, BBC Radio Cumbria, BBC Radio Kent, BBC Radio Wales and BBC 3 Counties Radio.
"It was a hectic day and schedule, but great use of time in terms of covering so many stations in one day," David explained. "The issue was also discussed on BBC Five Live on 23 January - but we missed the opportunity and our colleagues at RoSPA took the reigns."
The message from the THINK! team is Switch Off, Before You Drive Off . The campaign encourages drivers to take regular breaks during their trip (in line with the 'fatigue' message) and check voicemail messages during these breaks.
ACPO strongly supports the change in legislation and will use case studies to support their PR launch, which will be spearheaded by Meredydd Hughes.
The DfT is also writing to a significant number of companies (including hauliers) with regard to the change in law. "The penalties for employers proven to encourage or condone their staff using a mobile phone while driving are clearly higher than the standard £60 fine, and employers could ultimately be charged with corporate manslaughter," Frost explains.
While 'hands-free' equipment does not fall within the legislation, the police have the power to stop and prosecute drivers who are deemed not to be in proper control of their vehicle due to lack of concentration. Click here to download a copy of the Direct Line research into the impact of using a mobile phone while driving. The study illustrates the level of distraction and increased reaction time - which is in line with that of a drink driver.
"In terms of enforcement, RSOs may be surprised to learn that police officers have issued more than 250,000 tickets for this offence to date," David Frost adds.
"The DfT is in dialogue with mobile phone suppliers and retailers to establish their position with regard to the change in legislation. Reports suggest that Virgin and Vodafone in particular are already discouraging their employees from using a mobile phone while driving."
Click here to download an overview of research into regional awareness of, and attitudes towards, hand held mobile phone use while driving.
Click here to link to the DfT page from which the latest campaign support materials can be ordered.
01.01.07 - Mobile phones - detailed plans unveiled
18.12.06 - THINK! publishes mobiles guidance
04.12.06 - Too many motorists still flouting phone law - LARSOA