The Child Accident Prevention Trust is asking road users to ‘turn off technology for safety’ ahead of its annual Child Safety Week (6–12 June).
Bury Council’s road safety team is supporting the message by asking all Bury’s road users to give their full concentration to the road, as technology is a factor in both driver and pedestrian casualties.
Technology has become far more mainstream and widely used in everyday life, but the more it is used on the road the more likely it is to become a dangerous distraction. These distractions primarily come from smartphones, especially as they have become more multi-purpose. However, drivers can also become over-reliant and distracted by satellite navigation systems and pedestrians or cyclists could be distracted by personal music players.
It is illegal to use a handheld mobile phone when driving, with the minimum penalty being a fine of £100 and three penalty points on your licence. While drivers are permitted to use a ‘hands free’ phone, they could still be prosecuted for doing so if they are not in proper control of the vehicle. The best advice for drivers is to switch off, leave for voicemail or find a safe place to pull over and return the call. The penalties for driving carelessly or dangerously when using any mobile phone device include a disqualification, a large fine and up to two years imprisonment. Drivers who use any mobile phone device are slower at recognising and reacting to hazards. A split second lapse in concentration can cause a crash, which could have effects that last for a life time.
Jan Brabin, senior road safety officer at Bury Council, said: “As parents, we do everything we can to prepare our children to use roads safely and give them the skills to protect themselves. However, the way we use roads and the way we teach our children to use roads is sometimes different. Children will learn just as much from our bad habits as what they are told.”
In many ways technology has helped to make life easier and safer when using roads, but more personalised technology has had an adverse effect on road user distraction .The charity hopes that the theme will resonate with the most at risk families and help them understand when it is important to turn off technology, especially around roads and in cars. Child Safety Week, CAPT’s flagship event, aims to raise awareness of road collisions and casualties and how to prevent them.
Ahead of the event, CAPT has produced a number of free resources, including a 32-page action pack to support planning and delivery of any activities. The pack includes safety facts and tips, links to useful resources and activities to make learning about safety fun. It has also developed extra activity sheets, audio and video clips, quizzes and competitions. The pack can be downloaded from http://www.childsafetyweek.org.uk/
The event will be supported on social media, with users encouraged to get involved by using the hashtags #childsafetyweek and #turnofftunein.
Press release issued: 31 May 2016.