Campaign calls for drivers to stay focused

The campaign is concentrating on urging people to pay full attention when they are behind the wheel and is especially targeting young drivers.

Mick Clarke, Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service Road Safety Manager said:  Driving is a risky activity, so it requires full attention at all times. Drivers who are distracted significantly increase their risk of causing a devastating crash.

“The target audience for this week is young drivers and passengers because although driving distractions are a significant risk for all drivers, if combined with the inexperience of a newly-qualified driver it becomes an even more deadly cocktail.

“However, whatever your age, using a mobile phone, texting, using in-vehicle technologies (such as satnavs) and even eating can distract you from the road. Even if it’s just for a few seconds – that’s all it takes to have or cause a crash.

“Texting and using the internet while you’re watching TV isn’t the same as doing so while you’re behind the wheel. Your reaction times are 50% slower while talking on a phone and you’re four times more likely to crash if you use a mobile while driving.

“Passengers are also a big source of distraction and have an important role to play in helping the driver to be able to concentrate on just driving. So the campaign will also be targeting messages about this too.”

Please remember:

 There’s no safe way to use a phone whilst driving – turn it off or put it on silent, and put it out of reach.
 Be a safe passenger – let the driver focus on the road.
 Just drive – eating, drinking and smoking whilst driving reduces your reaction time.
 Set your satnav or your sound system before you drive. If you need to adjust them, pull over in a safe place.

Firefighters will be raising the awareness of the dangers of mobile phone use and distractions whilst driving to Henley Young Farmers on Tuesday 9 June between 7-8pm .

Three Young Farmers will have the opportunity to be cut free from a crashed car as the firefighters talk them through the extraction demonstration.

Mick Clarke, added: “It is often the role of firefighters to release seriously injured people from vehicles after road collisions: this task is made even more distressing when the injured people are young.  In fact road collisions are the biggest cause of death for young adults aged between 15 and 19. This is why fire and rescue services are keen to raise awareness of the dangers to this group and help save lives.”

Notes to editors:
• This advice is part of Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service’s 365alive initiative. 
For more information about the initiative, please visit www.365alive.co.uk