A road safety campaign launched in Co. Mayo is to have its own awareness day.
The My Red Thumb campaign is designed to raise awareness of the risks of distraction from using a mobile phone while driving.
The aim of the campaign was to reach as many road users as possible and to encourage people to change their habits.
My Red Thumb day will take place on Wednesday, May 13, and will be promoted though social media and message boards beside roads.
The idea is simple - we want as many people as possible to support the cause and promote the lifesaving My Red Thumb message - do not use a phone when driving!
Just like last year you can show your support for the event by painting your thumb red (or any other colour/pattern that you prefer) - the brighter and wackier the better - anything that will intrigue other people enough to ask you about it so that you can then tell them all about the campaign.
Social Media: We hope to take social media by storm again this year and look forward to people posting and sharing their Thumb Selfies via Twitter, Facebook and any other Social Media platform you are in to.
We hope that businesses embrace the My Red Thumb Day - we would love to see images of your entire workforce sporting red thumbs for the day.
We can all recall people putting a string on their finger to remind themselves of something. The original idea for the campaign was introduced in America to remind a driver not to use his phone while driving through painting his thumb nail red. It meant every time he saw his red thumb he was reminded of the message.
Keep your mind on the road.
Talking, texting or tweeting-we can now communicate with friends and family at any moment, even whilst using the road. But this ability to connect can easily distract us from the task at hand, with sometimes serious consequences.
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of fatal car crashes in Ireland, deaths on roads as caused each year due to distractions such as using a personal electronic device behind the wheel.
Driving is a complex task that requires your full attention. When you're distracted behind the wheel your reaction time is significantly reduced. Distracted driving is a common cause of rear-end crashes and injuries-there is no safe following distance when your mind is not on the road.
Mobile phone use while driving became a penalty point offence in September 2006. and is now the second highest penalty point offence in Ireland after speeding. A total of 30,524 offences have been recorded for 2014. Other distractions can be reading street directories, using global-positioning systems, unrestrained pets and changing CDs or selecting songs on iPods and MP3 players.
Noel Gibbons said "While the campaign was launched in response to a local need, based upon an evidence led approach; it is clear that the message is transferable to other areas and it is hoped that the campaign will continue to spread as it has continued to take off in the USA."
Drivers who use their phone are four times more likely to crash, injuring or killing themselves and/or other people. They are much less aware of what is happening on the road around them and fail to see road signs as well as failing to maintain proper lane position and steady speed, according to research.
"Driving requires full concentration at all times. Responsible drivers switch off their phones whilst driving. If you must keep your phone switched on, we recommend that you pull over where it is safe and convenient to do so to make or receive a call. This should be in emergency situations only''.
Tips for safe mobile phone use:
1. Check the facts. "Can I text at a stoplight?" "Is using the speakerphone safe?" http://www.rsa.ie/Documents/Campaigns/Mobile%20Phone/RSA_Mobile_DL.pdf
2. Place calls before you drive. Make any important calls before leaving the car park, office or home. Otherwise, wait until you get to your destination.
3. Set a reminder. Download free app to prevent texting and driving https://market.android.com/details?id=com.illume.izuplite.iZUPLite&hl=en.
4. Pull over to make or receive a call. If you must make or receive a call while in your car, pull over to the side of the road once it is safe. Make sure you're safely off to the side so you're not posing a danger to other vehicles.
5. Take a message. Let your phone pick up your calls and text messages. It's easy and much safer to retrieve your messages at a later time.
6. Ask your passengers. If there are passengers in the vehicle, let them make and receive calls and texts for you.
7. Plan to avoid distraction. Turn your mobile phone off or place it in the trunk of your car so you won't be tempted to talk, email or text when you're on the road.