A shocking new campaign is using the final moments of driversâ€™ lives to raise awareness of the danger of using a phone while driving.
The Last Text Tour is installing giant mobile phones in town centres, each carrying a copy of a text or social media message.
The messages are the final ones sent by drivers who were killed in crashes as a result of texting behind the wheel.
The six six-foot-tall phones each carry a plaque explaining how each driver crashed, who they were texting and why they were doing so.
The installation is part of the No Look, No Touch, No Phone campaign being run in Englandâ€™s north-east by Road Respect, part of the Northumbria Safer Roads Initiative. It has also seen the poignant texts printed on billboards and signs in petrol station forecourts, as well as distributed to local pubs and bars on beer mats and posters.
A spokesman for Road Respect said: â€œThe visual nature of the phones/texts aims to draw peopleâ€™s attention in, with the sobering message behind the phones really resonating with drivers and passengers alike, with the outcome being the encouraging of behavioural change behind the wheel.
â€œThis is in the hope that drivers will see and recognise the risks associated with driving and using a mobile phone, before itâ€™s too late.â€
â€” Road Respect (@RoadRespect) July 12, 2018
Data from the Department for Transport release last year showed that the number of people killed in accidents where the use of a mobile phone was a contributory factor rose by 59 per cent from 22 to 35 between 2015 and 2016, and those seriously injured jumped from 99 to 137 (38 per cent rise).
Since March 2017 the penalty for using a handheld phone at the wheel has been a Â£200 fine and six penalty points yet a series of studies in the last year has found a hardcore of drivers ignoring the regulations, with many claiming not to care about the tougher punishments.