Stroud Road Safety Liaison Group, which is chaired by Gloucestershire County Councillor Dr John Cordwell, used a recent meeting to highlight the risks caused by drivers being distracted by mobile phones.
Using mobile phones is one of the most dangerous behaviours for motorists, putting drivers, passengers and others on the road at risk of death and serious harm.
In March the penalty for using a hand-held mobile phone doubled from £100 to £200, and from three to six penalty points. The increases in the penalties could easily result in new drivers reverting back to being a learner, and experienced drivers being banned after two offences, or for totting up over 12 points on their licence.
The road safety liaison group are supporting Gloucestershire County Council’s road safety team to make this behaviour as socially unacceptable as drink driving.
Cllr Dr John Cordwell, chairman of the Stroud Road Safety Liaison group, said: “It is a fact that using a mobile phone increases the risk of a crash by four times, and that sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds and that’s the same as driving 60 metres at 30 mph with your eyes shut.
“That is why our message is No Mobile when mobile – turn it off or put it in your glove box to avoid the temptation. Should you need to use your phone then find a safe place to stop first, it’s as simple as that.”
Mike Cook, the group’s driver training representative, said: “The message from the county council’s road safety team is absolutely clear; ‘No mobile when mobile’.
“Drivers who use their phone at the wheel are serial bad drivers. It may be difficult to resist the temptation to pick up your phone when you’re driving, even though it’s illegal. But as soon as you take your eyes off the road and your hands off the wheel you’re putting yourself and others at risk, and to do this is totally unacceptable.”
Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member responsible for road safety at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “When you look at the stats of how using a mobile phone can affect your driving, it really does make you question what call could ever be worth this risk?
“We are all determined to work together to change people’s attitudes about mobile phones and driving. Even careful drivers can be distracted by a call or text – and a split-second lapse in concentration could result in a crash.
“No Mobile, when mobile, leave your phone alone’ is our campaign message to drivers.”
For more information on the road safety campaign, please visit our main campaign page (https://roadsafety-gloucestershire.org.uk/operation-close-pass/)