Be­hind the wheel, cell phones can kill

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When us­ing a mo­bile phone while driv­ing, a mo­torist could be hold­ing on the tip of his fin­gers the life of a cy­clist, a pedes­trian or an­other mo­torist.

Re­cently, the French Sécu­rité Routière, to­gether with its agen­cies La Chose and Anatome, launched a new cam­paign (print and ra­dio) to re­mind the pub­lic that just a few sec­onds of tele­phone use while driv­ing are enough to de­stroy some­one’s life.

Read­ing or writ­ing a text mes­sage, post­ing on so­cial me­dia, or just check­ing one’s email: these have be­come mun­dane ac­tions, a part of ev­ery­day life. But they can prove dra­matic if done while driv­ing, as such ac­tions force driv­ers to di­vert their eyes from the road for at least five sec­onds, equiv­a­lent to 70 me­ters at city speeds (50 kms/ hr) and mul­ti­ply by 23 the chance of an ac­ci­dent.

These past few years, tele­phone use has be­come one of the lead­ing causes of road ac­ci­dents, to­gether with al­co­hol and speed­ing. Ap­prox­i­mately one per­sonal in­jury in ten is re­port­edly linked to tele­phone use while driv­ing.

Fac­ing the pro­lif­er­a­tion of tele­phone use be­hind the wheel, and to raise aware­ness about this epi­demic, Sécu­rité Routière chose to cre­ate an im­me­di­ate link be­tween cause and ef­fect. The idea was to sym­bol­ise the phys­i­cal tele­phone with the road on which the ac­ci­dent oc­curs. Thus, that small in­nocu­ous hand move­ment trans­forms it­self metaphor­i­cally into an ul­tra-vi­o­lent ac­tion: crush­ing a pedes­trian at a cross­walk, run­ning over a cy­clist on a coun­try road, or crash­ing into a fam­ily car.

The cam­paign was pro­duced by the world-fa­mous Ir­ish pho­tog­ra­pher Vincent Dixon. His work brings to­gether en­ergy, tech­nique and es­thetic am­bi­tion.

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