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‘Behind the Wheel – Phone Can Wait’ Campaign

The National Road Safety Authority (ANSR), the Regional Directorate of Economy and Land Transport (DRETT), and the Public Security Police (PSP) launched today, the 3rd of October, their ‘Road Safety Initiative “Behind the wheel, the mobile phone can waitCampaign, which is part of the National Inspection Plan 2022.

Taking place from the 3rd to the 10th of October, the campaign aims to alert drivers of the negative and even fatal consequences of using a mobile phone while driving.

A press release sent to local media agencies points out that in 2021, 24,306 drivers were caught using a mobile phone while driving, an increase of 5.5% from the previous year.  With this in mind, the authorities are desperate for motorists to modify their behaviour, especially as accidents significantly increase when drivers are distracted by phone calls and text messages.

Thus, the campaign “Behind the wheel, the mobile phone can wait” will integrate awareness actions of the ANSR on the mainland, and the service of the regional administrations of the Autonomous Region of the Azores and the Autonomous Region of Madeira.  Surveillance operations by PSP officers will focus primarily on high-volume traffic areas and slip roads, in order to reduce the risk of accidents and deter drivers from using their mobile phones while driving.

ANSR, DRETT, and PSP state that drivers using their mobile phones while driving are not only a safety risk to themselves but to others as well.  Tests have shown that drivers who use hand-held devices while driving have slower response times when it comes to reacting to hazards. The brain easily becomes distracted when two mental tasks – driving and using the mobile phone – are implemented at the same time.  This causes lapses in attention, concentration, and evaluation of potential hazards, especially with regard to pedestrians.

Samantha Gannon

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