This week Surfing Western Australia launched its 2023 road safety campaign aimed at getting drivers off their phone – #NoTxtNoWrecks. The campaign, initially created in 2015, has been building momentum in the surfing community in recent years and this is expected to grow with the help of a Community Project Grant from the Road Safety Commission.
Through the grant, social media content featuring high profile West Aussie surfers Jacob Willcox (Margaret River, WA) and Mia McCarthy (Margaret River, WA) will spread the #NoTxtNoWrecks message, with a focus on young drivers who are driving on WA roads searching for their next dream surfing location.
Surfing WA CEO Mark Lane said chasing waves can mean many hours of driving and distraction, in particular mobile phones, is a big issue on the roads.
“Drivers, particularly young drivers, might find themselves tempted to send a text or check the surf without realising they are increasing their risk of a crash four-fold,” Mr Lane said. “This grant helps us amplify this important road safety message. We have joined forces with three other states to remind surfers around the country, and others, about the importance of staying safe on our roads and avoiding distraction behind the wheel.”
Road Safety Commissioner Adrian Warner commended Surfing WA on the launch of the campaign and said he was pleased to see the Commission’s Community Project Grant being used to raise awareness of the dangers of distraction.
“We detected 44,000 incidents of driver’s using their mobile phone during our recent three-month trial of new safety camera technology,” he explained. “This goes to show just how pervasive this issue is so it’s great to see Surfing WA taking a proactive approach in addressing this to keep not only the WA surfing community safe but the wider community too.”
Margaret River’s Jacob Willcox finished just three spots away from qualifying for the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) last year and has been a #NoTxtNoWrecks ambassador since its inception. Willcox understand’s the distraction that mobile phones can create, especially while behind the wheel.
“I’m driving a 3,000 kilogram car and I’ve got tourists, kangaroos, and narrow roads to deal with, the last thing I want to be doing is looking at my phone while I’m driving,” said Willcox. “My car could really hurt someone, let alone myself. People have to realise that you’re driving a weapon and your phone is a distraction and anything can happen if you’re not focused 100%.”
For more information about the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving visit the Road Safety Commission website.
Surfing WA reminds all surfers the dangers of sending a text message or using a mobile phone while behind the wheel – Ditch the distraction and remember #NoTxtNoWrecks.
You can keep up to date with the campaign by following Surfing WA’s social media platforms or by checking out www.surfingwa.com.au for more information.