9 September 2020

Toyota renews appeal to 'Face it Down'

Toyota has renewed its appeal to ‘Face it Down’ as new research reveals 59pc of Irish motorists look at their phones while driving, writes Trish Whelan.

Key research findings in a survey of 1,000 Irish drivers show that 59pc have glanced at their phones while driving within the last 12 months; 26pc typically check their phone alerts while stopped at traffic lights; and 21pc take a quick glance while driving when they feel it’s safe to do so.

Some 42pc of drivers admit to looking at their phones while driving, within the last two months.

When driving or stopped at traffic lights, 21pc said they read text messages, 18pc make or answer calls, 7pc check voicemail, 6pc send messages, 4pc check social media, and 3pc read the news.

The survey comes at a time when deaths on Irish roads have risen by 9, in comparison with the same time period of last year.  

Toyota is asking Irish motorists to place their phones faced down while driving - the central message carried throughout the brand’s annual National FaceItDown Awareness Week which runs from Monday, 14 September to Sunday 20 September.

The FaceItDown app was developed by Toyota Ireland to help change Irish driver behaviour. It is endorsed by the Road Safety Authority. For every kilometre driven with the app engaged and phones faced down, users can earn points which are redeemable against free hot beverages in Circle K, cheaper FBD car insurance and subsidised paring at QPark lots.

Since its launch in 2017, FaceItDown has recorded move than 28.9 million kilometres driven in Ireland with phones faced down. The free app is available to all motorists, whether they drive a Toyota or not, from Apple Store or Google Play. 

Toyota is offering double incentive points for all journeys logged on the app from today, 9 September to the 20 September.

Toyota’s brand ambassador Niall ‘Bressie’ Breslin (pictured above) will be spearheading this year’s awareness week campaign. 

“I spend a lot of time driving from Mullingar to Dublin, and on a daily basis I see motorists with phone in hand doing 100km/h on the motorway. The research clearly shows that people think it’s OK to use their phones when they think it’s safe, but even momentary driver distraction can result in death and disaster,” he warns.

Bressie wants to encourage every driver in Ireland to download the free app. 

The nationwide research was carried out by iReach on behalf of Toyota Ireland.