Two new Northern Ireland road safety adverts deal with the issue of driver distraction and inattention.

The first, entitled Friends, is a television advert specifically targeting young drivers carrying young passengers. It uses sports scenes to illustrate how someone can miss a goal or a putt when distracted and then highlights the fatal consequences of a driver being distracted.

The second advert, entitled Missing, will go out on social media and highlights what can happen in those two seconds when a driver looks at the incoming text on their mobile phone.

The new adverts, announced by Environment Minister Mark H Durkan, will be on TV and ‘Missing’ will be available on YouTube and other social media, using the hashtag #2secondglance.

Minister Durkan said:

“Distraction is our key focus in these adverts given the high number of people who have lost their lives due to distraction.”

“Young passengers and young drivers can be a lethal combination. Young drivers are particularly susceptible to distraction, especially when driving with other young people in the car. What we are clearly saying here is that the car is not a mobile living room.”

“Young drivers often don’t have the confidence to challenge horseplay and succumb to group peer pressure so that they don’t spoil the fun. My message to them is: do have the confidence to say wise up. Your car, your rules. Passengers, on the other hand, are often unaware that their behaviour puts their driver, who is their friend, at risk. They seem oblivious to their role and responsibilities as road users, mistakenly shifting all the responsibility onto the driver. My message is clear – don’t distract the driver. Distraction kills.”

Speaking specifically about the advert ‘Missing’ which highlights the distraction from mobile phones, the Minister continued: “There is widespread acceptance that mobile phones are distracting and potentially dangerous while driving. But addiction to mobile phones seems to override this rational understanding. Drivers know that they shouldn’t, yet they continue to do it. My message is simple – don’t lose your whole life for a two second addiction. We need to ask ourselves what we miss when we look down at the phone for a couple of seconds. In fact, glancing at your phone, for just two seconds, doubles your risk of crashing.

“No phone call, text or social media update is worth someone’s life.”