Crash sur­vivor’s safety plea to young driv­ers


Leicester Mercury - - News - By STAFF RE­PORTER

A WOMAN who was crit­i­cally in­jured in a crash on the M1 in Le­ices­ter­shire has shared her ex­pe­ri­ences for a new safety cam­paign.

The dan­gers of us­ing a mo­bile phone while driv­ing are be­ing high­lighted with the help of Liese Bow­ers-Straw, who in Novem­ber 2014 was caught up in a crash caused by a driver who was dis­tracted be­cause she was us­ing her phone.

A man in an­other ve­hi­cle died in the smash, which closed the mo­tor­way for 18 hours.

Mrs Bow­ers-Straw broke her neck in two places, tore the mus­cles across her hips and stom­ach, lost her teeth and suf­fered a brain in­jury, as well as se­vere psy­cho­log­i­cal trauma.

She ap­pears on one of two videos pro­mot­ing the four-week cam­paign, or­gan­ised by the Leices­ter, Le­ices­ter­shire and Rut­land Road Safety Part­ner­ship (LLRRSP).

The group has teamed up with Le­ices­ter­shire dig­i­tal per­for­mance agency Ef­fect, which has used the tal­ents of stu­dents from De Mont­fort Univer­sity’s De­mon Me­dia group to pro­duced video con­tent de­signed to res­onate with young driv­ers.

The first video high­lights how dis­tract­ing mo­bile phones can be while car­ry­ing out day-to-day tasks, while the sec­ond fea­tures the stu­dents dis­cussing the use of mo­bile phones be­hind the wheel with Mrs Bow­er­sS­traw, who was driv­ing home from work on Novem­ber 25, 2014, when she was caught up in a col­li­sion in­volv­ing eight ve­hi­cles.

The cam­paign aims to re­mind driv­ers, par­tic­u­larly mil­len­ni­als, of the dan­gers of us­ing a phone while at the wheel, whether tak­ing a call, tex­ting or even choos­ing some mu­sic.

With 31 per cent of driv­ers ad­mit­ting to us­ing a mo­bile phone to ei­ther make or take a call, check texts, e-mails or so­cial me­dia while driv­ing, the LLRRSP is keen to high­light that us­ing a mo­bile phone while driv­ing is il­le­gal and can re­sult in a fine of £200 and six penalty points.

Even more wor­ry­ing is that driv­ers are four times more likely to be in­volved in a crash if us­ing a phone and re­ac­tion times of a driver are slower when tex­ting and driv­ing than that of some­one drink-driv­ing.

The videos have been is­sued via paid for ad­ver­tis­ing across Face­book to tar­get the key au­di­ences.

LLRRSP spokesman Jonathan Clark­son said: “Mo­bile phone use be­hind the wheel is in­creas­ing and we need to re­duce this, so we wanted to high­light the dan­gers to road users, while also mak­ing the con­se­quences of those ac­tions re­ally clear.”

IN­JURIES: Liese Bow­ers-Straw in 2016, two years af­ter be­ing caught up in an M1 crash (main pic­ture)

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