An employee caught by police using his mobile phone while driving says he would never do it again after attending a special course for offenders run by the TTC Group on behalf of police.
Landscaper Chris Snowden (36) volunteered to attend the course after police drove alongside him as he checked work emails on his phone.
Driving was now “much less stressful” and he only checked emails at the end of a journey when the ignition was switched off, he said, days before a new law is introduced on March 1 doubling the penalties to six points on your licence and a £200 fine.
“I knew using my phone while driving was illegal so I started the course thinking I’ll get through this and avoid the three points,” said Chris, who attended the course in York.
“But I walked out of the course thinking I could be the next news story on a family killed by a driver not paying attention to the road, using a mobile.”
With drivers four times more likely to crash using a mobile, police and road safety campaigners want to make mobile phone use as anti social as drink driving.
The TTC Group road safety organisation has worked with a number of police forces, and organisations across the UK to deliver specialist half day behavioural change courses aimed at changing the way drivers think about risks.
With the aim of reducing casualties, they educate 330,000 road users each year on a variety of police “diversionary” courses, offer workshops and use TTC DriverProtect, an online solution to help employers measure, monitor and manage their work related road risk.
Newly qualified young drivers face losing their licence and having to retake the driving test if they collect six points within their first two years of driving.
Employers who don’t have processes in place to prevent staff from making or receiving calls while driving may also face serious penalties under tough health and safety laws.
Motorists who use a mobile while driving often believe they are better drivers, say TTC Group trainers.
They text at traffic lights, make calls with a phone on their lap and drive through junctions chatting on a mobile clamped to their ear, oblivious of any danger.
One motorist said he was so engrossed in a phone call that he was oblivious to being followed by police.
“They really do think they can multi- task and are better drivers than everyone else,” says TTC Group director Alan Prosser.
“But your concentration is on the conversation and not on the road. Texting is an eyes up and eyes down process with your gaze just on the vehicle in front and not on what is happening around you.”
Course attendees take part in activities that prove they can’t effectively carry out two simple tasks at the same time.
“They realise that they are least aware of what’s happening on the road when their attention is diverted which means that they are much slower to react and take longer to brake.”
Drivers on phones don’t see road signs, tailgate the car in front, their lane position is out and speed is erratic. Sat-Navs, in-vehicle entertainment systems and hands-free phones are also dangers which distract drivers, added Mr Prosser.
For more information on road safety visit www.ttc-uk.com
TTC Group supports #DontStreamAndDrive day on March 2 organised by a police traffic officer.
Companies can help employees be safer drivers by giving them advice and support over “a lunchtime cuppa” with an innovative offer from the TTC Group which is proactive in managing work related road safety. The road safety organisation, a road safety pioneer with more than 20 years experienc