Release date: 9 May 2016
Firefighters in West Sussex are set to turn their thumbs red this Thursday (May 12) to support a campaign which aims to help save lives on the road.
‘My Red Thumb’ is a multi-agency road safety campaign designed to raise awareness of the risks of getting distracted at the wheel; in particular using a mobile phone whilst driving.
Crews will be reaching for the nail varnish and using other creative ways to turn their thumbs red and then taking to social media in a bid to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving and help reduce the number of road traffic collisions in West Sussex.
Last year (January 1 2015 to December 31 2015) 19 people were killed and another 439 were seriously injured as a result of a collision on the county’s roads.
Drivers who are distracted significantly increase their risk of causing a devastating crash. Distracted driving can result from a host of things including eating or drinking, using in-car technology or even passengers. However, using a mobile phone to text or call is one of the most common.
The original idea for the Red Thumb campaign was introduced in America to remind a driver not to use his phone whilst driving; through painting his thumb nail red. Every time he saw his red thumb he was reminded of the message. The campaign has now been picked up in the UK.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer for West Sussex, Gavin Watts, said:
“Social media has become such a powerful tool to raise awareness of road safety issues and we’re hoping we can help My Red Thumb Day go viral and save lives. The sight of a firefighter in nail varnish isn’t something you’ll see every day so we hope the public get behind it by sending us their Red Thumb selfies on Thursday.
“A momentary lapse of concentration at the wheel can result in a collision that leaves families and communities devastated. That’s why road safety campaigning is an all year round occupation for us and our Sussex Safer Roads partners.”
You can join in with My Red Thumb Day on Thursday May 12 by tweeting @WestSussexFire and using the hashtag #MyRedThumb. For more information on the My Red Thumb campaign visit www.myredthumb.com