On average, people spend eight years on their phones. It's no secret they have taken over our lives.
They are our black mirror portals to dog videos, dopamine, constant connection and instant information. We love them. We can’t live, eat lunch or go to the toilet without them. And that’s kind of the point. They’re beautifully designed to grab and hold our attention. The buzz of notifications, ding of messages, vibrant app colours and endlessly refreshing feeds all combine to create the perfect storm of distraction.
But what is this never-ending stream of distraction costing us?
Aside from making us the most connected generation in history, the persistent use of phones in all aspects of our lives has made them a rising distraction risk for drivers on our roads. International research points to growing evidence that driver distraction due to mobile phone use is a contributing factor in crashes, with younger drivers overrepresented in crash statistics.
We can’t help checking our phones behind the wheel. Surveys of young Australian and New Zealand drivers show that 43% will try not to use their phones while driving but end up doing so anyway. We have a problem.
And everybody knows it. Research shows there is a global growing desire to have balance in our phone use. To escape the noise. A cultural moment the latest road safety campaign from NZ Transport Agency and Clemenger BBDO uses to its advantage.
‘Let Driving Distract You’ positions the car as a safe haven from the never-ending stream of dings, likes, tags, memes, messages and emails – a place where young people can be free from the distraction of their phones, and actively resist its constant pull for their immediate attention.
Brigid Alkema, ECD at Clemenger BBDO says: “This campaign changes what it means to not check your phone in the car. Instead of your car inconveniencing your connectedness, it can offer a sweet escape. A subtle yet brilliant flip that changes the way you think about the hierarchy of your car and phone. ‘Let Driving Distract You’ turns the car into a helpful and useful tool for phone resistance – a place to start practicing restraint.”
Rachel Prince at the NZ Transport Agency recognises that phones are an innate and important part of everyday, modern life: “With this campaign we want to find the positives in saying, ‘no’ and really celebrate those showing strength by denying the urge to check their phone while driving. All power to you checking those likes in the shower, just not behind the wheel.”
The campaign launched on June 28th with a film shot by Sweetshop director Jakob Marky. Speaking of the film, Jakob said: “This is a very important film with a profound message. It covers comedy, drama and the dependant relationship we have with our phones, as they take more and more of our attention. It does this with nuance and sophistication, presenting all sides of the story, so that our message, ‘let driving distract you from your phone’, has authenticity.”