Welcome to the home of the #DontStreamAndDrive campaign.
In 2015 the practice of livestreaming via a social media platform opened up to a much wider audience when Twitter launched the application Periscope. Overnight thousand upon thousand of users had access to an easy to use and reliable platform to share their experiences by live video. The founder of this campaign Neil Dewson-Smyth (@SgtTCS on Twitter) was quickly aware of the platform and after a very short time saw some great opportunities for the police to use live video. He has been a proponent of live video for police engagement ever since.
However, as he continued to use the platform and it’s popularity grew, he began to see the practice by some users to livestream whilst driving. The dangers and risks of this were blatantly obvious. He chose to try and do something about this and began a low level approach of challenging drivers about their behaviour and pointing out the dangers.
2016 was lauded as the livestream year and indeed it was. As popularity grew the practice of streaming and driving became more prevalent. Neil consolidated his efforts into a national awareness day that became #DontStreamAndDrive Day on 8th April 2016. The day was a huge success with great support from many police forces, ambulance services, fire & rescue services, individual officers, road safety organisations and more.
During the remainder of 2016 the campaign continued to grow with many other social media users across the globe getting behind the hashtag. Neil has been invited to a number of road safety conferences to present about #DontStreamAndDrive including TISPOL, the National Driver Offender Re-Training Scheme, UK policing Senior Command Course, the PFEW Road Policing Conference, Road Safety Wales and more. Neil has also presented the campaign to the National Road Policing Intelligence Forum. This presentation led to NPCC (National Police Chiefs Council) support of the campaign. As such the 2017 #DontStreamAndDrive day was embedded into national police campaigns in March when the increased penalties for mobile phone use by drivers increased. The campaign grew in support (see image below) and was also adopted by the UK government THINK! team. Notwithstanding the year round work, on the two days alone the campaign has reached in excess of 35 million people around the world.
In April 2017 Neil travelled to the SMILE conference in Los Angeles where he won the ConnectedCops 2016 award for social media leadership for his work on the campaign.
Sadly there have been and we continue to see fatalities as a consequence of this behaviour. Many drivers are oblivious to the dangers and risks this presents. More worrying are those drivers who recognise the dangers but livestream anyway in the belief they are a good driver.
Driving is a complex operation and needs your full concentration all the time. Drivers need their hands on the wheel and their “eyes and mind” on the road too. The loss of one of these vital components, even for a fraction of time, can be the difference between life and death.
Road safety is the responsibility of every road user. Together we can make a difference and reduce the number of unnecessary and totally avoidable deaths and serious injuries on our roads.
Neil continues to spearhead the campaign along with some great support from partner organisations and fellow officers from around the UK and the world. Please help spread the message by highlighting the dangers of streaming and driving.
Neil is always available to discuss the campaign with fellow law enforcement professionals, road safety organisations and the media. If you think he can help then feel free to make contact with him via the contact page.