Students switch off to save lives

May 25, 2018

Students switch off to save lives

High school students are switching off their phones this weekend to prove phones shouldn't be a distraction while driving. Photo: Sarah Pollok.

Students are switching off their phones for two days to prove phones shouldn’t be a distraction while driving.

The PhoneFree48 campaign launched by SADD (Students Against Dangerous Driving), will see high school students turn off their cellphone all weekend from 6pm May, 25 in the hopes it will remind the public to not check their devices while driving.

Piper Young, high school student from St Dominic’s College and national leader for SADD, says teenagers are too easily distracted by their phones.

“Even when you’re trying to talk to someone, it’s really hard to get them to pay attention if they’re still on their phone – and that goes the same for driving,” she says.

“If you take your eyes off the road to switch to your song or whatever, you don’t know what could happen – you could rear end someone, miss a turn, or anything like that.”

Ms Young says checking notifications is the main source of temptation for young people to look at their device when behind the wheel.

A police spokesperson said driver phone distraction is “certainly” a focus for them, and people behind the wheel should be aware of the possible consequences of taking their eyes off the road.

The Ministry of Transport study on distracted drivers from 2017 shows 15-24 year olds were the most likely age group to be in a crash caused by diverted attention.

Donna Govorko, the national manager for SADD, said the temptation for a driver to check their phone is a social issue.

“It’s about a behaviour change really, [we want to remind] people you’re actually behind the wheel of a vehicle,” she said.

Ms Govorko hopes the campaign will remind drivers to stay focused, and the money raised from the student’s fundraising will go towards SADD education campaigns.