Roads Minister Duncan Gay and NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander, Assistant Commissioner John Hartley today announced the expansion of the ‘Get Your Hand Off It’ campaign on mobile phone driver distraction.
Minister Gay said the highly successful online campaign would start airing in mainstream media this weekend.
“It’s timely that the campaign is expanded in time for the busy holiday season,” Minister Gay said.
“We don’t want anyone thinking that a quick text behind the wheel or holding a mobile phone while driving is worth the risk of never making it home to your family.
“We have so much compelling evidence to show that mobile phone use raises the risk of a crash and yet sadly motorists see this behaviour around them every day.
“In the last five years, we can attribute mobile phone usage to directly contributing to at least 216 crashes, 100 of which resulted in someone being killed or injured.
“We managed to get fantastic reach with our online campaign launched in June, especially among younger drivers, by placing a safety message on YouTube, where it’s attracted more than 600,000 views on YouTube.
“It also garnered international interest with VINCI Autoroutes French Foundation for Responsible Driving hosting the clip on its website.
“From this weekend, the ‘Get Your Hand Off It’ TV, radio, cinema and other messages will reach motorists who may not use social media platforms like YouTube.
“I urge motorists to make that commitment to themselves, whatever their behaviour to date, decide today to stop using your mobile phone while driving,” Minister Gay said.
Assistant Commissioner Hartley said the ads would be accompanied by a targeted NSW Police campaign on the use of mobile phones while driving, during the first half of December.
“In the first four weeks after the campaign was launched on YouTube, the daily number of mobile phone offences dropped by around 20 per cent state wide, when compared to the four-week period before the campaign began,” Assistant Commissioner Hartley said.
“These results are extremely positive. It’s an encouraging trend but we need more motorists to take heed of the message.
“This behaviour needs to change. ‘Get Your Hand Off It’ provides the community with a cheeky phrase to direct at friends and family who use their phones illegally behind the wheel
“It’s behaviour that threatens the safety of everyone in the vehicle, other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
“NSW Police are always cracking down on mobile phone use but especially after the new laws introduced last year I remind motorists to put your mobile in a cradle,” he said.
Centre for Road Safety General Manager, Marg Prendergast said there was no reason good enough to excuse holding a mobile phone to call or text while driving.
“Texting behind the wheel or holding a mobile phone to use it while driving is an emerging road safety issue and it’s important we address it,” Ms Prendergast said.
“Holding a mobile phone to call or text while driving is extremely dangerous given the driver’s eyes are off the road.
“No matter what excuse you think is justified, it’s not, just ‘Get Your Hand Off It’,” she said.
The online video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsgxNLuivy0