On 10 May 2023 the OU hosted the Driving Change day conference, entitled ‘Distracted driving: time to refocus’, co-funded by the OU and the Road Safety Trust.
80 delegates attended, made up of police practitioners, government organisations, policy makers, road safety professionals, road safety charities and academics. Speakers presented academic research, practitioner perspectives on enforcement and accounts of personal experience of being a victim of road harm. The focus of the conference was entirely on reigniting interest and focus on distracted driving both in terms of research and practice. This included discussion of the law, educational opportunities, enforcement practices and technological solutions.
The day was a great success, enabling networking between academics and practitioners, feeding into new workplace policy recommendations and forging new working relationships. The conference ended with a wish list of outcomes which included:
Several of these items have already sparked action amongst presenters and attendees, notably including confirmation from the NPCC that they will work with academics to introduce best-practice in police interactions with mobile phone offenders, and discussions with National Highways on the need for education to support technology-based enforcement.
Initial survey feedback from delegates has also been very positive, demonstrating support for the approach taken to the conference:
"I enjoyed hearing from a range of presenters who understood their field, encouraging me to challenge some of the views I held."
"The range of perspectives (academics, police officers, policy leaders) was top-notch. Good to see distraction being talked about in such a broad sense too."
88% of attendees agreed that what they had learned at the conference encouraged them to think about changing their own driving behaviour, and 69% agreed that they would use what they had learned to challenge their workplace policy on technology use when driving. There was also very strong agreement (96%) that the conference was effective in providing networking opportunities and that the resources shared at the conference would be of use in their workplace (91.5%).