Sri Lanka, a country renowned for its scenic beauty, faces a grim reality on its roads. With over 3,500 road accident deaths annually, 9,000 critical accidents, and 12,000 minor accidents, the need for urgent action to enhance road safety cannot be overstated.
The rampant use of mobile phones while driving, consistently topping the list of traffic offenses in Colombo and Galle districts in both 2019 and 2022, has become a grave concern. It’s high time we address this alarming habit that has taken root in our society and adopt global best practices to ensure the safety of all road users.
Enter the Drive in the Moment road safety initiative, a crucial phase in our ongoing efforts to make our roads safer. Don’t Drive Blind! is a research-based, evidence-driven intervention designed to help drivers curb their mobile phone use while behind the wheel. Its approach is rooted in principles proven to break harmful habits, similar to those used to combat smoking or texting addiction. The ultimate goal is to empower drivers to break this dangerous habit for good.
Key Objectives of ‘Don’t Drive Blind!’:
Raise Awareness: We aim to educate the public about the perils of using mobile phones while driving and create a widespread understanding that distracted driving is akin to ‘the new drink driving’ or a form of negligent driving with far-reaching consequences.
Behavior Change: Through applied research, we intend to provide an evidence-based resource platform aimed at reducing in-vehicle mobile phone use, primarily among young drivers, who are more susceptible to this risky behavior.
Collaboration: We are proud to announce our partnership with the National Road Safety Council and Optimum Q Event & Project Management, demonstrating our commitment to a multi-faceted approach to tackling this issue.
As part of our commitment to road safety, we are grateful to the FIA for their grant funding support, which enables us to spearhead this initiative.
Similar to our counterparts in Australia and New Zealand, we are dedicated to making our roads safer by addressing smartphone use in vehicles. Our surveys indicate that many Sri Lankans believe this issue poses one of the greatest risks to road safety today. Using a mobile device while driving places significant cognitive, physical, and visual demands on a driver, and the ever-expanding functionality of smartphones has led to distracted driving being labeled as ‘the new drink driving’ or even the most prevalent form of negligent driving.
Through ‘Don’t Drive Blind!’, we are taking the first steps towards a safer future on our roads. We urge all Sri Lankan drivers to join us in this mission to reduce mobile phone use behind the wheel. Together, we can make a difference and save countless lives.
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