We all have a part to play in keeping our roads safe

11 March 2020

Jerry Herbert

Every day five people are killed on UK roads. That's five people every day who tragically do not make it back home safely to their loved ones.

Road safety is something that I, as the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, am really passionate about.

Our beautiful county has a mix of motorways, national and rural roads which provide a range of different driving conditions. Our roads are generally very safe and we continually work with partners, particularly the local authorities and the Fire and Rescue Service to keep them that way.

Despite this, we see all too many avoidable accidents, many of which are caused by human error.

I fully support anything we can do as a community to help make our roads a safer place for everyone. Whether that is through educating motorists about how to be the safest possible driver, joining schemes like Community Speed Watch or police clamping down on those few who commit motoring offences.

It was great to hear that Wiltshire Police is supporting the National Police Chief's Council's campaign to tackle drivers who use their mobile phones whilst behind the wheel.

Driver distractions, such as use of a mobile device, is one of the "fatal 4" most common causes of serious road traffic incidents alongside drink/drug driving, speeding and not wearing a seatbelt.

Accidents caused by a distracted driver are entirely avoidable. As a community we should make using a phone whilst driving as much of a social taboo as drink driving. If you must make a call, send a text or check an email, pull over and park up somewhere safely first. It literally could save your life.

If you are caught using your phone whilst driving you could face 6 penalty points and a £200 fine. For some, including new drivers, this could mean losing your licence. However, the true cost of being distracted whilst driving can sadly be far more tragic than just points and a fine.

If you call someone and they are driving, don't distract them from the road, hang up and get them to call you back when they have reached their destination.

If you are a passenger in a car and the driver is using their mobile phone, don't risk your life and the lives of other road users by staying silent, challenge this behaviour. It is not only extremely dangerous but also illegal.

The police and our partners definitely have a role to play in tackling those who continue to ignore laws there to keep up safe on the road, but we are all responsible for our own actions too. Do the right thing and if you are driving, ditch the mobile phone and focus on the road.

Published March 2020.