(Ljubljana, 28 January 2021) The SABRINA – Safer Bicycle Routes in Danube Area project, implemented in the framework of Danube Transnational Programme and co-funded by European Union funds (ERDF, ENI), is spreading the word about Slovenian Traffic Safety Agency´s national prevention campaign Safely without the phone (#VarnoBrezTelefona). We are publishing the introductory words below, and you can read more here.

 The SABRINA project believes well-designed and well-maintained bicycle routes will not only encourage more people to bike, improve their health and contribute to a greener environment, but they will also prevent injuries and save lives. Unfortunately, fatal accidents and those resulting in serious injuries happen even when there is safe infrastructure in place. There are many reasons why this is the case. In recent years, one of the biggest reasons for road accidents is the use of cell phones while driving, walking, or cycling.

National campaign led by Slovenian Traffic Safety Agency

Between 25 January 2021 and 7 February 2021, the Slovenian Traffic Safety Agency and its partners are coordinating a national campaign to raise awareness about the risks of cell phones’ use in traffic: Safely without the phone (#VarnoBrezTelefona in Slovenian language). The awareness-raising campaign is taking place online, on social media, and in the field. The Slovenian Traffic Safety Agency will carry out field research about the use of cell phones in traffic, while the Slovenian Police will increase the supervision of the use of devices that hinder the drivers. All the partners included in the campaign call to drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists: “A phone call, message, like, or social media post can wait. While on the road, do not look at the screen and do not surf online.”

The use of cell phones while driving or cycling

The use of cell phones in traffic is a growing global problem. It has a big impact on the cognitive abilities of people conducting the vehicle, riding a bike, or walking down the street. According to the Slovenian Traffic Safety Agency, a staggering 75% of drivers use a cell phone while driving (data from 2016; new research happening now). Talking on the phone, texting, or online surfing while driving, results in up to 23 times higher risk for a traffic accident. In 2020, the Slovenian Police identified 36.771 cases where drivers used the cell phone while driving, which was 17% more than a year before and 100% more than in 2012.

According to Slovenian road traffic regulations, the use of cell phones while driving is not allowed. That means it is against the law if you are holding the phone in your hand(s), having a phone conversation, writing a text message, or surfing the world wide web. Hands-free calling is permitted but the Slovenian Traffic Safety Agency points out even hands-free use of phones reduces the driver’s attention since we tend to concentrate on the content of the conversations instead of the road. The same law applies also to the cyclists in Slovenia. While riding a bike it is not allowed to use the cell phone or any other device which reduces the user’s auditory or visual perception. This means, the use of headphones and listening to music while biking is also against the law.