Young road users most at risk from mobile use


Young road users at risk when using mobiles to text

Texting while driving and listening to iPods are increasingly to blame for fatal road accidents, according to safety campaigners.

They claim young drivers in particular ignore new laws introduced in 2003 that make using a mobile phone while at the wheel illegal.

A major safety conference will be told today that more young drivers are dying on Britain’s roads than 15 years ago.

Tune into Traffic also claim young people are more likely to die in a car crash than to be stabbed, abused or neglected.

Overall death rates on the roads have fallen by a third since the mid-1990s but 16 per cent more 16-19-year-old drivers are being killed today.

Campaigners want new initiatives on road safety to focus on the dangers of texting or fiddling with an iPod while driving or cycling.

Tune into Traffic, an online campaign group, wants the Green Cross Code’s traditional ‘Stop, Look, Listen’ message to be updated.

It insists young drivers need to be warned about the dangers of listening to music and not being alert while at the wheel.

Founder Manpreet Darroch said: Road traffic collisions are the biggest cause of death among young people and, from our own observations and what young people are telling us, the distraction posed by these devices is huge.’

He added: ‘Road traffic collisions are the biggest single cause of death among young people in Britain and the world and we’re asking Government to take notice of the way modern lifestyles are contributing to that horrible fact.’

Coroner Nicholas Gardiner warned about the dangers of iPods in 2008 after the death of a cyclist while she was listening to the device.

Abigail Haythorne, 17, died of severe head injuries after she cycled into the path of an oncoming car, apparently without noticing it.

The coroner said: ‘I would urge cyclists to reserve their hearing and not to use their earphones while using the roads.’

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