An instant of distraction can make the difference between life and death. This is why the International Automobile Federation (FIA) and Dieter Liebrech Koch, with the collaboration of RACC and RACE and other European automobile clubs, are launching the #ParkYourPhone initiative. The ambassador for this campaign is singer Pharrell Williams, who has lent his image to videos and promotional images.
European Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said that “with smartphones integrated into our lives, it seems increasingly difficult to take our eyes off the screen. In fact, driving distracted is causing an increasing number of victims on the road.”
The message is unmistakable: the best way to prevent an accident is, first and foremost, to have our eyes on the road and not any other element that can prevent us from driving with attention. Jean Todt, president of the FIA, said that “road safety is one of my top priorities. Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians need to understand the dangers of using smartphones in traffic. To combat the 3,500 lives lost daily in traffic accidents, I call on all road users to ‘park’ their phones when they are involved in traffic in one way or another.”
MEP Dieter Liebrech Koch, representative of #AparcaTuMóvil, also explained that “Europe has done much to advance safety, whether in technical improvements of vehicles, as well as further training for road users or infrastructure. But new technologies, such as smartphones, pose new challenges. I welcome this initiative, which encourages everyone to remember that a moment of distraction can be fatal.”
Stop to distractions
#AparcaTuMóvil joins other campaigns, such as the one driven by RACE, Castrol and BP, “Stop Distractions”, in which the campaign alerts drivers of the risks using the mobile phone whilst driving. Under the hashtag #StopChatear , the action reveals that more than 13 million Spanish drivers recognise having used the mobile phone behind the wheel, many of them to use instant messaging applications. In a surprise test at the Circuit Jarama, RACE took a group of young people on a guided tour to see live, first-hand, what happens when try to attend messaging applications on our mobile phone while driving, with surprising reactions.
The RACC , on the other hand, emphasises that talking on the phone multiplies by 4 the probability of an accident and that drivers who write a message are 23 times more likely to crash. In a study carried out by the Catalan motor club last year, 26% of drivers admitted to using their mobile “always or often” on their journeys, a percentage that increases to 47% in the case of pedestrians. This same study showed that 43% of drivers recognise dangerous practices such as writing messages in a moving car, or that one in five pedestrians continue to use the mobile whilst using pedestrian crossings.
To reduce the accidents related to mobile use, the RACC recommends: Promote the use of applications that block the mobile while driving; require certification (eg an ISO standard) to be able to standardise mobility-related apps and identify them as safe and compatible with driving and involve large Internet companies, mobile phone manufacturers and telecom operators in the improvement of mobile applications for safer integration in driving.