Merton Calls On Road Users To Take Care

Watch out for mobile phone distraction

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Drivers and road users in Merton are being urged to watch out for the deadly distraction of mobile phones as part of Road Safety Week.

Provisional figures show that so far this year there have been 308 road accidents in the borough, including one fatality and 28 serious injuries.

Merton has seen a steady decline in serious road incidents though over the last couple of years, with a 4% reduction from 2009 to 2010.

But the council says that though it is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving, many motorists still break the law by using them and many people are making themselves vulnerable by using their phones whilst crossing the road.

The most vulnerable are the 10-15 year-old age group who often sustain injuries through distraction and carelessness when crossing roads. To pass on the serious message about the distraction phones can cause, Merton's Road Safety team are providing workshops and presentations in the borough's schools to reinforce the safe crossing message with all age groups.

Schools are also hoping to introduce Junior Road Safety Officers for years five and six (aged 10 – 11) to encourage their peer groups to be more vigilant when using the road. 

Merton is also calling on its staff and local residents to sign a pledge "Pledge 2 drive safely" where motorists do their bit by pledging to wear a seatbelt, slow down, drive sober, not tired, or using a mobile, and if possible reduce unnecessary driving too.

Councillor Edith Macauley, Merton Council cabinet member for community safety, engagement and equalities said: "Although Merton has had a relatively low level of serious road incidents, there is always more that can be done to reduce this number. It doesn't take much for either a driver or someone crossing the road to become distracted by their mobile phone and be part of an incident which could have been otherwise avoided and we want to alert people to this issue."

November 22, 2011