Distractions behind the wheel are a real and dangerous phenomena. We've covered distractions extensively in our news artices and risk factors feature and continue to place a spotlight on distraction free driving.
Over in the UK, a campaign has been gaining momentum with its 'Don't stream and drive day' championed by road safety campaigners and policeman Sgt Neil Dewson-Smyth. The campaign reminds drivers of the importance of distraction free driving with a particular focus on streaming video via mobile phones, while behind the wheel. This year the 'Don't stream and drive day' takes place on 3rd April.
In 2015 the practice of livestreaming via a social media platform opened up to a much wider audience when Twitter launched the application Periscope. Overnight thousand upon thousand of users had access to an easy to use and reliable platform to share their experiences by live video. The founder of this campaign Neil Dewson-Smyth (@SgtTCS on Twitter) was quickly aware of the platform and after a very short time saw some great opportunities for the police to use live video. He has been a proponent of live video for police engagement ever since.
However, as he continued to use the platform and it’s popularity grew, he began to see the practice by some users to livestream whilst driving. The dangers and risks of this were blatantly obvious. He chose to try and do something about this and began a low level approach of challenging drivers about their behaviour and pointing out the dangers.
2016 was lauded as the livestream year and indeed it was. As popularity grew the practice of streaming and driving became more prevalent. Neil consolidated his efforts into a national awareness day that became #DontStreamAndDrive Day on 8th April 2016. The day was a huge success with great support from many police forces, ambulance services, fire & rescue services, individual officers, road safety organisations and more.
During the remainder of 2016 the campaign continued to grow with many other social media users across the globe getting behind the hashtag.
Sadly there have been and we continue to see fatalities as a consequence of this behaviour. Many drivers are oblivious to the dangers and risks this presents. More worrying are those drivers who recognise the dangers but livestream anyway in the belief they are a good driver.
Driving is a complex operation and needs your full concentration all the time. Drivers need their hands on the wheel and their “eyes and mind” on the road too. The loss of one of these vital components, even for a fraction of time, can be the difference between life and death.
Road safety is the responsibility of every road user. Together we can make a difference and reduce the number of unnecessary and totally avoidable deaths and serious injuries on our roads.
We will be supporting the Don't Stream and Drive Thunderclap on Twitter and encourage you to do so too below!