A new campaign has been launched by the DGT, aimed at attempting to raise awareness of the dangers of using a mobile phone, by using humour as their means of delivering the message.
The Minister of the Interior, Juan Ignacio Zoido, launched the campaign which is hoped will become a viral message spread through social media.
The campaign utilises the popular comedic skills of the comedy group Tricicle, formed of three actors, Joan Gracia, Paco Mir and Carles Sans, in order to deliver the very serious message of the danger of distractions during driving, especially the increasingly frequent use of the mobile phone.
Zoido said, “We want to universalize a simple, friendly and cordial gesture that serves to warn those drivers or pedestrians who are using their mobile phone while driving or crossing the road of the risk involved in using their phones”, and there is “no one better than Tricicle for expressing the message with a simple gesture”.
By utilising social media platforms it is hoped that the message will reach as many people as possible, especially as social media users are amongst a growing group who don’t realise that the problem is not only in talking to people on the phone, checking Facebook or Twitter on your device, for example, is equally dangerous.
A video has been released to accompany the campaign, with the simple message, “At the wheel, don’t use your mobile”, which is available on various social media accounts already.
Distractions cause 30% of all fatal incidents, so that at least 500 people die each year in traffic incidents where distraction appears as a concurrent factor. Among the most frequent distractions is the use of the mobile, an action that is classified as a very dangerous practice by 94% of drivers, according to the study of the RACC and, despite the danger 43% of all young people “WhatsApp” whilst driving, according to another survey of more than 6,000 young Europeans.
When dialling a number on a mobile phone in a vehicle travelling at 120 kilometres per hour, a distance of 429 metres is travelled, the equivalent of around 4 football fields. If we write a message, we travel 660 metres blind. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, using the mobile to send messages involves three forms of distraction: visual distraction while the eyes are reading the screen; Cognitive distraction, the mind is busy elaborating the message and manual distraction as the fingers are typing the letters or buttons. The combined result being that the actions multiply the possibility of an incident by 23 times.
“We have an important awareness ahead of the real risk of using the mobile while driving. Nothing is so urgent that I cannot wait a few minutes”, said Zoido.
Part of the campaign is encouraging anybody who witness drivers, or pedestrians crossing the road, to make a hand gesture indicating hanging up the phone, similar to a campaign from a few years ago that encourage a finger wag and the phrase “oi” to be used towards drivers.
More people have been seen making the gesture, including the Director General of the DGT, Gregorio Serrano, who posted his video on the official Facebook page.