A new campaign featuring a ‘music-style video aims to highlight the dangers of using a handheld mobile phone while driving.
THINK! launched its latest campaign today (Wednesday) after figures showed that 314 drivers have been caught in Cambridgeshire using a mobile while driving since penalties were doubled in March this year.
The campaign features a video directed by the people behind the music video for Pharrell William’s hit Happy.
It asks young drivers – who are less likely to consider mobile phone use a dangerous behaviour according to the latest research – to put their phone away by highlighting just what you miss when you glance at your phone.
The film was directed by duo ‘We Are From LA’. It is shot in the style of a music video and uses vibrant colours and an edgy soundtrack to engage the young audience and challenge the misconception that a quick glance at your phone won’t hurt.
Sergeant Ian Manley, of the Road Policing Unit, said: “If you use a mobile phone whilst driving you significantly increase your chances of being involved in a serious, even fatal collision.
“We need to educate drivers that this behaviour is completely unacceptable. Using a phone behind the wheel not only puts your life at risk, but that of other innocent road users.”
The four-week campaign, which also includes two radio adverts, will run in cinemas, online and on social media.
Since March 1, motorists caught using a handheld mobile phone while driving face a £200 fine and six points on their licence.
Drivers caught twice face a lengthy ban – which could also then lead to a £1,000 fine. While new drivers - those who have passed within the last two years - face having their licence revoked if caught just once.
More than 15,000 fines have been issued to drivers using a handheld phone since the new penalties were introduced.
Following the March THINK! campaign, awareness of the penalties increased by 89% and 47% of those that had seen the adverts said they were less likely to use their phone when driving as a result.
The approach is a break from the normal hard-hitting THINK! campaigns as it is proven to be more effective at influencing the target audience – those aged 17 to 34. This age group is three times more likely than over 35s to use a handheld mobile while driving.
THINK! is urging Android smartphone users to download the Car Mode app or if using an iPhone, its drive safe mode, which automatically detects when you’re driving, and silences incoming calls and messages.
RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: “The RAC’s latest research reveals that the problem is still at epidemic proportions with a hard core of drivers persisting in texting, talking, tweeting and even taking photos at the wheel.
“We therefore welcome THINK!’s thought-provoking video, which highlights the dangers of a two-second glance at your phone while driving. Motorists risk a “We hope that this wil mobile phone for good when driving and be phone smart.”
Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, National Police Chiefs’ Council, said: “Driving while distracted by a mobile phone is completely unacceptable and puts everyone on the roads at risk of serious harm. Police are making use of the tougher penalties to clamp down on this dangerous behaviour – but we have to be clear that when you get behind the wheel it is your responsibility to stay focused and alert.
“As this campaign makes clear, it only takes a few seconds of distraction to change lives forever.”