A new campaign has been launched this week to encourage young drivers not to text and drive.
On Monday, pupils from the Belfast Model School for Girls took part in one of the first workshops to raise awareness of the dangers of texting while driving, as well addressing the legal implications and the human costs associated with the illegal practice.
The workshops were the brainchild of insurance firm Allstate Northern Ireland and supported by the DoE Road Safety and the PSNI.
Ronnie Tosh, manager of the DoE road safety education office, explained: “Educating the public and influencing attitudes and behaviours towards road safety is vital and the first step towards achieving this is to instill good road user attitudes and behaviours in young people.
“What is learnt and put into practice at an early age forms the basis of adult behaviour. Through working in partnership with organisations such as Allstate, initiatives like this will contribute to a reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads each year.”
Head of road policing, superintendent Muir Clark, said: “Using a mobile phone while driving is not just an offence, it can lead to a lapse of concentration that can and has resulted in people being killed in crashes on roads in Northern Ireland this year. Drivers must exercise proper control of their vehicle at all times. Never use a handheld mobile phone when driving. Using hands free equipment is also likely to distract your attention from the road. It is far safer not to use any telephone while you are driving. No phone call is worth losing your own or some innocent person’s life. If it’s a vitally important call, find a safe place to stop first.
“We welcome the fact that fewer people are being detected for the offence, and would remind drivers not to use mobile phones when driving, to always wear their seatbelt, drive within the speed limit and to never, ever, drive after drinking or taking drugs.”