Telsis has chosen national Road Safety Week (November 19-25) to partner with road safety charity Brake – and to launch a simple new system that could cut the number of UK deaths and injuries caused by people texting and talking on the phone while driving.
Texting and talking while driving claimed 23 lives and caused 74 serious injuries in the UK in 2011 and Brake is urging mobile operators in the UK to make it easier for phone users to avoid the temptation.
Telsis DriveSafe automatically lets callers and texters know someone is driving and will respond later when they can do so legally and safely. Crucially, it works for all mobile phones, no matter what make, type or age, even if they are out of coverage or turned off. The system is already in use in New Zealand in an earlier text-only version where it has been praised by the government and by the leading motoring organisation.
Telsis says DriveSafe not only gives mobile networks a way of exercising social responsibility, but enables companies with vehicle fleets to enforce phone use policy and negotiate discounts with insurers.
Texting has been found to make drivers 23 times more likely to cause a crash, potentially killing or maiming innocent road users. Yet this message clearly isn’t getting through to drivers – research conducted by Brake and Direct Line earlier this year revealed that nearly three in 10 drivers (28%) texts at the wheel and one in 13 (8%) do this at least once a week.
Zoe Carvin, 52, from Northumberland was killed in 2005 leaving behind a husband and two young children. Zoe’s car was in queuing traffic when a 26 year old HGV driver texting at the wheel ploughed into her vehicle killing her instantly. The HGV driver was convicted of dangerous driving and jailed for three years. Zoe’s husband Paul said that when Zoe was killed, his life and that of their two young children were turned upside down.
Paul Carvin, now a Brake volunteer says: “I ask all drivers to think about Zoe, and all the other lives needlessly lost on the road. Put your phone out of reach. It isn’t worth the risk.”
Sarah Fatica, general manager at Brake, says: “People who text at the wheel are taking enormous risks with their own and other people’s lives. This kind of irresponsible behaviour is illegal and it kills so there should be no excuses.”
“We would like to see UK mobile networks playing their part and looking seriously at technologies that could lessen the temptation so many of their customers feel to talk and text while driving. We are delighted to be working alongside Telsis to raise awareness about the dangers of talking and texting at the wheel, helping to reduce the number of people tragically killed and seriously injured on UK roads every year.