Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK: Scotland
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
Friday, 21 January, 2000, 11:53 GMT
Family hails 'switch it off' campaign

Crash scene A scene from the new television advert

A bereaved family has welcomed a 350,000 government campaign highlighting the dangers of using mobile phones while driving.

A television advert showing a pedestrian being knocked down by a motorist talking into a mobile will be screened throughout the UK.

The message on the advert, which will run until 31 January, is: "Stay switched on. Switch it off."

Nothing will bring dad back but this gives other families a chance
Usman Shafiq
A poster campaign was launched in 1998, but this is the first time the government has used television to drive the message home.

A Department of Transport spokeswoman said: "The advert is running at a time when four million new mobile phones have just come into use.

"Many people received mobiles as Christmas presents and it's important for them and everyone to use them safely."

Driver jailed for death

The family of greengrocer Mohammed Shafiq, 41, welcomed the campaign.

His son Usman,19, said: "This is really what we have been looking for. Nothing will bring dad back but this gives other families a chance."

Driver talking on mobile "Stay switched on - Switch it off"
Earlier this week trucker Roger Murray was jailed for 18 months at Ayr Sheriff Court for causing the death of Mr Shafiq, from Mauchline in Ayrshire.

He was using a hands-free kit talking to his office as he sped along the A77 and ploughed into father-of-three Mr Shafiq's Ford Escort, killing him instantly.

The people of Mauchline have raised money to build a memorial in the town's sports hall where Mr Shafiq was a keen squash player.

He had arrived in the town with nothing but built-up a thriving grocery business.

Hands-free claim disputed

Usman added: "It only takes a split second not to be watching or concentrating on the road and the result can change lives forever.

"You cannot be 100% focussed if you are talking to someone or leaning forward to a microphone."

Distractions can lead to accidents
The family disputes claims by the RAC that using hands-free kits are as safe as chatting to a passenger in your vehicle or listening to the radio.

Usman said: "The only safe way to use any phone is to pull over and stop. It only takes a matter of minutes to stop.

"Every day you see drivers talking on the phones at 80mph on the motorway. This is frustrating and makes me very, very angry."

The campaign was also welcomed by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

"With modern messaging systems there is no need to leave a mobile on in a car," said RoSPA's road safety adviser Dave Rogers.

"We would like companies to reinforce this campaign by making it part of their health and safety policies that employees should not use mobile phones while driving."

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console

See also:
21 Jan 00 |  UK
Crackdown on car phones
16 Mar 98 |  UK
Mobile but not that mobile please
16 Mar 98 |  UK
Mobile-motoring warning
06 May 99 |  UK Politics
Mobile phone driving ban proposed

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Links to other Scotland stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Scotland stories