Mobile phone use while driving - policing participants needed

Mobile phone use while driving: our new research project on the driver education programmes available to offenders needs your support! We’re looking for Policing participants to help us. Contact: Dr Gemma Briggs (@DrGemmaBriggs).

We’re seeking help from CPRL police members and other forces to support our project on education programmes aimed at drivers who are caught using their mobile phones. The aim of the project is to initially find out what education is currently available in different parts of the UK, with a view to identifying how improvements in education can be made. Ultimately, our aim is to produce a set of interactive evidence-based educational resources which could be made available to offenders as well as the wider public, aiming to prevent future offending.

Our research into hands-free phone use while driving has shown that distracted drivers take significantly longer to react to hazards and are four times more likely to have an accident than undistracted drivers. This accident risk is comparable with drink-driving. We’ve also shown that phone users can look directly at a hazard yet fail to see it, as their attention is focused on their conversation.

Even when they do spot a hazard, it takes them around 1 second longer to react than undistracted drivers (that’s an extra 13m of stopping distance at 30mph!). Given these startling findings, we’re really passionate about educating drivers about the dangers of distracted driving, so would really appreciate any help on offer for this project. For the initial phase of the project, we are asking for support in gaining access to the organisations who provide driver education programmes on behalf of the police. We are therefore asking if police services could provide us with the contact details of individuals in the force who have oversight of this, and who are willing to be contacted by us, so that we can begin to understand the current provision of courses.