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ELI HILL
eli.hill@age.co.nz

Wairarapa pupils are leaving their phones alone for two days next week to raise awareness of the dangers of using a phone while driving.

Students Against Dangerous Driving begins its Phone Free 48 campaign on Monday aiming to show people that going without their phone while driving is the right decision.

St Matthew’s Collegiate pupil and SADD national leader Kitty Riach is one of the Wairarapa pupils putting her phone down.

“Only when you turn your phone off and place it out of reach might you notice all the times you reach for it while driving or realise how much of the road you would be missing with a glance down at your phone,” Riach said.

“Cell phones are the unavoidable present and future of communications so ensuring we use them positively is paramount.”

Crashes involving young drivers on learner and restricted licences have risen by 74 per cent since 2013 compared with an overall increase of 40 per cent for the whole population.

Young learner and restricted licence holders account for around one in seven fatal or serious injury crashes.

SADD national manager Donna Govorko said the message is not getting through to drivers that distracted driving is dangerous, and SADD pupils want to change that.

“It’s not easy for some teenagers to be without their phones, but these students are really committed to highlighting the dangers that come with the distraction of phone use on our roads.

“SADD is a peer-to-peer education programme, so it’s massively important that the safer driving messages give a youth perspective. Students told us how they wanted to make a difference and enable all road users of all age groups to do the same.”