A new Dutch campaign to combat the use of smartphones behind the wheel or on a bicycle is also targeting messengers. They often do not take into account that their recipient is on the way. The Dutch Minister of Infrastructure, Mark Harpers, believes that this could save many accidents and road injuries if this happened.
Research conducted by Motivaction on behalf of the ministry shows that one in three Dutch people do not take into account whether the recipient is on their way when sending messages. This is even half among young people. This is despite the fact that nine out of ten participants are well aware that distraction is a major cause of accidents.
“An accident is a cornerstone, especially if people are distracted in traffic,” Harpers says. The intent is that people don’t read or send messages while driving or cycling. “This is not always easy,” the minister said. But he says it can help if family members, friends and colleagues know you’re on the road and take that into account.
Since 2018, the government has been pointing out the dangers of digital distraction behind the wheel of the so-called MONO campaign. So far, the campaign has mainly focused on the road users themselves. Under the slogan “Don’t Apply Me”, senders are more involved now.
Anyone using a mobile phone behind the wheel of a car in the Netherlands risks a fine of 350 euros. The fine for a bicycle is 140 euros. Last year, more than 140,000 fines were issued for using mobile phones in traffic, and this year it was just under 115,000 fines as of August.
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