Seeing drivers use their mobile phones whilst driving is enough to irritate most people, myself especially. Statistics have shown that you are twice as likely to crash when texting and driving, as you are when drink driving. So why is it still seen as a socially acceptable thing to do by so many drivers, especially when drink driving is not seen as socially acceptable?
This is a concept that I was passionate about trying to change, and still am.
On the 2nd and 3rd of May 2017, I decided to set up and run a campaign at the university, with the aim of educating people around the dangers of using a hand held mobile device whilst driving a vehicle. I chose to run the campaign at the university, as I wanted to aim it at the students, believing that students were a good audience, as I thought that the majority were likely to be young drivers.
The driving force, for me, behind this campaign really came from the recent crash on the A34, Oxfordshire, in August 2016. In this incident, a lorry driver was travelling at 50 miles per hour whilst attempting to change to music on his phone, and he was not concentrating on the road. He did not see the traffic in front of him come to a stop, and he did not have time to brake.
The lorry driver crashed into the stationary traffic in front of him, and sadly, 4 people were killed, including 3 children. It was a story that shocked many people; and quickly prompted a change in the penalties for using your mobile phone whilst driving. But I still saw people doing exactly this, so I decided I wanted to try and make a change.
Despite the fact that the topic I wanted to talk about is hard hitting, I did have a lot of fun organising and running this campaign. It introduced me to quite a few people that I would normally never have cause to speak to, and their own stories were fascinating. I was honoured to be a guest on our VPEW’s, Jenny Wade, radio show, and I was so pleased to see my event page on social media actually get attention from people, some of whom I didn’t even know!
Soon enough, the campaign days came around, and I was extremely happy with how it turned out. So many Bucks students came up to us to talk about the topic, share their own experiences, and receive some cool freebies at the same time.
On the 3rd of May, we decided to tally up how many males and females engaged with us. I am both surprised and pleased to say that there were more girls than boys. Over the course of 4 hours, 35 girls engaged with the stalls, and 26 boys.
I am really happy that I decided to do this campaign, and I hope to take it elsewhere in the local community.
I would like to extend particular thanks to our VPEW Jenny Wade, Student Engagement Coordinator Will Hoskin, Tim Caswell and my representatives from Thames Valley Police, Transport for Bucks and Bucks Fire and Safety for their flawless help in organising and running this campaign.