Distracted driving is a major killer on our roads. During May, the Department of Transport and Public Works (DTPW) is calling on all road users not to touch their cell phones when driving or walking to protect their own safety and the safety of others.
Cellphones have become part of daily life for most people. In addition to being our talking and text messaging devices, they are our newspapers, our cameras, our wallets and our maps. Growing evidence from around the world shows that, if you are driving or walking, being distracted by your cellphone significantly increases the risk of a road crash. Any road crash may result in serious injuries and death.
The United States National Road Safety Council says the ability of a person’s brain to process moving images decreases by 33% when he or she is on the phone. Being distracted in this way significantly reduces the ability of drivers to respond effectively to what is happening on the road, even if they are using a hands-free apparatus. People using cell phones while walking near traffic are also distracted, especially if they are wearing earphones or headphones.
“We are appealing to all road users to never use a cellphone while driving or walking. Any kind of distraction is extremely dangerous,” said Farrel Payne, DTPW Director: Traffic Law Enforcement. “Please pay attention to the road at all times, especially as winter approaches and visibility decreases. No phone call or text message is so important that it is worth a human life,” he added.
We can help to prevent the unnecessary loss of lives on our roads if we all work together. No text message or phone call is worth a human life. Whatever it is, #ItCanWait.
Note to editors
DTPW is playing an active part in the South African Police Service’s operational safety plans for the upcoming national and provincial elections. “As Provincial Traffic Law Enforcement, we are committed to supporting operations that will help make the elections as safe as possible. Provincial Traffic will be deployed in accordance with approved operational plans to help ensure free-flowing traffic on all of our major roads and at identified polling stations,” said Farrel Payne, DTPW Director: Traffic Law Enforcement.