We would like to see UK mobile networks playing their part and looking seriously at technologies that could lessen the temptation
British innovator Telsis has chosen national Road Safety Week (November 19-25) to partner with road safety charity Brake – and to launch a simple new system that could cut the number of UK deaths and injuries caused by people texting and talking on the phone while driving.
Texting and talking while driving claimed 23 lives and caused 74 serious injuries in the UK in 2011 and Brake is urging mobile operators in the UK to make it easier for phone users to avoid the temptation.
Telsis DriveSafe automatically lets callers and texters know someone is driving and will respond later when they can do so legally and safely. Crucially, it works for all mobile phones, no matter what make, type or age, even if they are out of coverage or turned off. The system is already in use in New Zealand in an earlier text-only version where it has been praised by the government and by the leading motoring organisation.
Telsis says DriveSafe not only gives mobile networks a way of exercising social responsibility, but enables companies with vehicle fleets to enforce phone use policy and negotiate discounts with insurers.
Texting has been found to make drivers 23 times more likely to cause a crash, potentially killing or maiming innocent road users. Yet this message clearly isn’t getting through to drivers - research conducted by Brake and Direct Line earlier this year revealed that nearly three in 10 drivers (28%) texts at the wheel and one in 13 (8%) do this at least once a week.
Zoe Carvin, 52, from Northumberland was killed in 2005 leaving behind a husband and two young children. Zoe’s car was in queuing traffic when a 26 year old HGV driver texting at the wheel ploughed into her vehicle killing her instantly. The HGV driver was convicted of dangerous driving and jailed for three years. Zoe’s husband Paul said that when Zoe was killed, his life and that of their two young children were turned upside down.
Paul Carvin, now a Brake volunteer says: “I ask all drivers to think about Zoe, and all the other lives needlessly lost on the road. Put your phone out of reach. It isn’t worth the risk.”
Sarah Fatica, general manager at Brake, says: “People who text at the wheel are taking enormous risks with their own and other people's lives. This kind of irresponsible behaviour is illegal and it kills so there should be no excuses.”
“We would like to see UK mobile networks playing their part and looking seriously at technologies that could lessen the temptation so many of their customers feel to talk and text while driving. We are delighted to be working alongside Telsis to raise awareness about the dangers of talking and texting at the wheel, helping to reduce the number of people tragically killed and seriously injured on UK roads every year.”
Notes for editors:
Brake is an independent road safety charity. Brake exists to stop the five deaths and 66 serious injuries that happen on UK roads every day and to care for families bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes. Brake runs awareness-raising campaigns, community education programmes, events such as Road Safety Week (19-25 November 2012), and a Fleet Safety Forum, providing advice to companies. Brake’s support division cares for road crash victims through a helpline and other services.
Road Safety Week is the UK’s flagship event to promote safer road use, coordinated annually by the charity Brake and involving thousands of schools, communities and organisations across the country. Road Safety Week 2012 takes place 19-25 November.
The Telsis mission is to enrich people's lives through innovations in communications technology and services. For 25 years, Telsis has provided tier-1 network operators with flexible infrastructure and compelling services in voice, text and video. From TDM, through IP-based networks to IMS and LTE, Telsis provides evolutionary solutions to match customers' network developments and enable the provision of advanced services today.
Telsis’ portfolio of services is backed by proven engineering skills, system integration expertise, and a deep understanding of human factors, all of which combine in solutions that enable operators to offer their customers exciting and practical services with compelling real-world appeal.
 Driver Distraction in Commercial Motor Vehicle Operations, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, presented at the International Conference on Driver Distraction and Inattention in Gothenburg, 2009
Further editorial information:
Telsis – Graham Moore +44 (0) 1489 760333
Brake – Richard Coteau + 44 (0) 1484 550061
Sage Partnership – Kevin Fiske +44 (0) 1189 344007
DriveSafe Q & A
What is it?
DriveSafe is a network service that lets drivers set an auto-reply to incoming voice calls and text messages.
Why not an app?
Because an app would only work for some types of smart phones. DriveSafe works for all phones.
How does a driver use it?
DriveSafe could not be simpler. To turn it on text ‘drive on’ to a network shortcode such as 1234. To turn it off send ‘drive off’.
What happens then?
Anyone who sends a text message to the driver instantly receives a reply saying “(network brand) DriveSafe. I’m currently driving. I’ll read your text as soon as it is safe to do so.” The user still receives the original text and can review it and respond when they stop driving.
Anyone who tries to call the driver hears a pre-recorded network-branded message saying: “The person you are calling is currently driving and has (network brand) DriveSafe enabled. They will receive a text to let them know you called; they’ll be able to read that when they stop driving.” DriveSafe sends the user a text letting them know who called and when.
What’s in it for drivers?
DriveSafe users can concentrate on driving, secure in the knowledge that whoever has tried to contact them has been told why they cannot respond immediately.
What’s in it for organisations with vehicle fleets?
DriveSafe generates an audit trail showing at what times users turned the service on and off, helping to enforce organisations’ safe vehicle usage policies and enabling them to negotiate more favourable insurance terms.
What’s in it for mobile network operators?
DriveSafe enables operators to exercise powerful social responsibility, helping to keep their subscribers and their subscribers’ loved ones safe – and helping to ensure that they will all remain customers for many years to come.
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