The UK's Department of Transport has launched a free game that demonstrates how hard it is to listen while driving, addressing the fact that 30 per cent of young drivers admit sending text messages from behind the wheel.
The game, and statistics, come as part of the DoT's THINK! campaign, which is particularly aimed at young drivers, despite the fact that 12 per cent of all UK drivers admit to composing T9 missives when they should have been watching the road.
The game isn't focused on text messages, but instead challenges the player to listen to a woman's voice and press the space-bar whenever a question is asked, while keeping an eye on pedestrians wearing colour-coded T-Shirts. Harder than it looks, and made us glad that we've never been tempted to listen to questions while counting T-shirts.
Using a phone from the car seems to be falling out of favour: more than 80 per cent of the public believe that talking on the phone increases the risk of an accident, even if a hands-free kit was being used.
Certainly the penalties for pressing a phone against one's ear (60 quid and three points) don't seem to be discouraging anyone, though the DoT points out that even those using hands-free kits can also be done for "not being in a position to have proper control of a vehicle". Only by making it socially unacceptable can people be convinced to get off the phone when driving, and even then it won't be easy.
The latest campaign features a driver navigating their voice-controlled handset, composing the last text message they'll ever send judging by the sound of the following crash. ®