Working as an injury lawyer in Victoria, about 30 per cent of the cases Rory Lambert handles are a result of distracted driving.
Impaired driving used to be the top issue in his generation, but now Lambert said that’s moved down the list behind speeding and distracted driving thanks to countless awareness campaigns throughout the years.
But Lambert views distracted driving as a more serious issue since phones are now such a big part of people’s lives. The most recent statistics from ICBC also show distracted driving contributed to 29 per cent of collisions in 2013, followed by speeding at 27 per cent and impaired driving at 24 per cent.
“Talking on the phone is so benign. We do it all the time,” said Lambert, noting distracted driving doesn’t just pertain to cell phones.
“The statistics are clear. Distractions like applying makeup, reading, or dialing a handheld device can make you up to 23 times more likely of being in a crash or near crash event. It has to stop.”
In order to draw awareness to and stop distracted driving, Lambert’s firm, Lambert & Williams, has launched a series of ads that will appear on five city buses.
Some of the slogans include: Pull your head out of your apps; Share the road, not your selfie; and YOLO, So dnt txt n drv, and were created by the firm’s staff members in an office competition.
The firm plans to run the ads as long as possible and change up the messaging once in a while. They’re also in talks to visit schools in the new year since the campaign mainly targets young people.
“If this campaign makes even one person rethink their decision and drive safer, our job will be done,” said Darren Williams, co-founder and partner of the firm. “This trend needs to change and we are hoping our message will encourage people to pay closer attention.”
In Victoria, police have placed plain clothed officers on city streets to simply watch what drivers are doing behind the wheel, particularly when they are stopped at a red light. Officers noticed those aged 16 to late 20s seem to be the worst when it comes to texting behind the wheel, despite a fine of $167 and three penalty points if caught doing so.
“People aren’t getting the message. I think that’s the disappointing part,” said acting Sgt. Ross Smith of the Victoria police traffic unit
“How much more can we do? We are constantly running campaigns.”