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November 21st 2016

Road Traffic Accidents

Make your mobile phone a potential lifesaver – not a danger – when behind the wheel

Jane Woodcock

Jane Woodcock

Head of Personal Injury

Make your mobile phone a potential lifesaver – not a danger – when behind the wheel

Hudgell Solicitors is campaigning throughout Road Safety Awareness Week not only to highlight the dangers of using mobile phones when driving – but to also potentially help make the devices potential life-savers following accidents.

Hudgell Solicitors is campaigning throughout Road Safety Awareness Week not only to highlight the dangers of using mobile phones when driving – but to also potentially help make the devices potential life-savers following accidents.

The firm has long been a strong voice in calling for tougher sentences for those found guilty of using their phone at the wheel, and welcomed law changes which will see motorists hit with six points on their licence and a £200 fine from next year.

Last week, and throughout this week’s Road Safety Awareness week activities, spearheaded by road safety charity Brake, the firm has been sharing dramatic images of the devastation the use of a mobile at the wheel can cause to lives in a bid to make people think twice about their actions.

This week it is also urging people to take advantage of a facility on mobiles which can provide emergency services with vital health information of accident victims at the scene.

‘Medical ID’ is a facility included on most Apple iphones via the Health App, providing immediate access to medical details on an individual’s phone, bypassing their security code to give emergency services access to their blood types, medical conditions, allergies and reactions and any medication they are currently taking.

It also allows users to display a number of emergency contacts with the name, telephone number, and relationship to the phone owner provided – all of whom can be contacted at the touch of a button.

The service, which is part of a Health App provided on all phones with operating systems since iOS8, is known to be vastly underused, with many owners unaware that the facility, which takes just minutes to update, is available.

Hudgell Solicitors is sharing a short video via social media this week explaining how the potentially life-saving details can be entered into a phone in a matter of seconds.

It is then urging all to share the status with friends, family and work colleagues throughout the week, with the aim of seeing thousands of people use the facility across the country.

Jane Woodcock, personal injury manager at Hudgell Solicitors, said: “Mobile phones are a menace on the roads at present because so many people have admitted to taking the chance and either using them for calls, texting or even browsing social media.

“The potential consequences of this are catastrophic, as has been clearly evident in some very recent, high profile cases which have led to the tragic loss of life.

“We at Hudgell Solicitors have long called for tougher sentences for those caught, and very much welcomed the recent announcement of much stronger penalties being introduced in 2017.

“We have seen a lot of support for our campaign over the past week when we have been sharing our images on social media and in the local press. Hopefully, the message is starting to get through to more people.”

Whilst campaigning for people to ‘switch off’ when getting behind the wheel, the firm says it is unrealistic to expect people not to carry their phone with them, and is therefore urging people to use them for vital information relating to their health.

“We have to accept that people are going to take their mobile phones with them when they travel, so with that in mind, we thought we’d look for the positive aspect that can bring to the situation,” added Mrs Woodcock.

“As we all carry them with us pretty much all the time, there is an opportunity to make mobile phones potential life-savers by ensuring they carry vital information which can be of use to emergency services.

“Again we are using the power of social media in the hope that we can raise awareness and make a real difference to the emergency services’ ability to quickly assess the situation they are facing when attending an accident, as they will have vital information at hand.”

All Iphones with operating systems of iOS8 and more recent include a ‘Medical ID’ section within the Health App, which is included as part of the phone’s initial set-up.

It allows them to choose their own picture and name, date of birth, a list of medical conditions, notes, allergies, reactions and medications.

It provides emergency services immediate access – even if the phone has a security code – by tapping ‘Emergency’ when in the lock screen and then viewing the information through ‘Medical ID’.

Mrs Woodcock added: “Of course, people have to be happy that their own medical details will be accessible by clicking on the Medical ID option on their lock screen, but we’d expect few people to have any issue with this.

“We’d suggest people enter all of their relevant health details that would be beneficial to a medical professional should they be in need of treatment, and a select number of contacts who are happy for their number to be directly accessible in this way.”

The campaign has won the support of national road safety organisation Road Safety GB.

Director of Communications at Road Safety GB, Iain Temperton, said: “Mobile phones are a hot topic in Road Safety terms and we fully support this timely reminder to drivers not to use theirs whilst driving, even if it is a hands free system.

“Should something go wrong on the road a phone can then be a lifesaver, both in summoning help and holding vital information that the emergency services can use.

“The advice given by Hudgell Solicitors is very sound, the Medical ID function is free and available to use, so why not fill it in. It could just save your life.”

More than 40 million people bought a new Iphone in the third quarter of 2016, with world sales topping a billion since its launch in 2007.

How to create your own Medical ID for Emergencies

  • Launch the Health App on your phone and select “Create Medical ID.”
  • Enter your emergency contacts and health information like your birth date, height, blood type and medications taken
  • Turn on ‘Show When Locked’ to make your Medical ID available from the Lock screen.
  • Tap ‘Done’ and you’re finished.

What can I do?

  • Share the campaign on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+
  • Watch our video on YouTube and share it
  • Once you’ve filled it in let us know on Facebook and Twitter & tag in your friends
  • Tweet your support: @hudgellsol, #RoadSafetyWeek

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