The Transportation Ministry and National Road Safety Authority have kicked off a new campaign aimed at warning drivers against using their phones to send text messages while on the road.
There have been previous attempts to warn drivers against mixing text messaging with driving. The latest effort will include cooperation from the Keshet communications network.
A study by the National Road Safety Authority found that drivers who use their phones have poorer reaction times, are less able to recognize danger in time, and more frequently veer out of their lanes or come dangerously close to other cars.
Those who send text messages while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in a traffic accident, the authority found. Studies showed that drivers who sent text messages had their eyes off the road 40% of the time, and veered from their lane 28% more frequently compared to drivers who did not use their phones.
Keshet will assist in the latest campaign by raising awareness of the dangers of texting and driving via its news programs, and airing a documentary on the subject. Channel 2's Mako website, as well, will have information on the dangers, and efforts will be made to raise awareness will focus on social networking sites.
“Smart phones have become an inseparable part of our lives, and it’s hard to part from them even during driving,” said Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz.
He warned, “This is one of the greatest dangers in driving: looking at the internet, reading and writing messages while driving, these things are equivalent to the driver not being in the car… We need to recognize the fact that we are addicted to mobile phones, and the process of fighting the addiction needs to start now.”