National Red Thumb Day came to North Devon on Thursday, May 10, to encourage the public to not use their mobile phones whilst driving.

The Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS) community safety team visited McDonald’s in Bideford to raise awareness of the national day.

This was the fifth annual Red Thumb Day, where members of the public were urged to paint their thumbnails red as a reminder to themselves and others not to use mobile phones whilst driving.

Red Thumb Day is a road safety campaign to raise awareness of the risks distractions at the wheel can cause.

The painted thumb nail is a reminder for drivers not to get distracted whilst driving.

Chelsea Barton, assistant manager at McDonald’s, was full of praise for the campaign and said it was a fantastic experience for everyone who participated.

She said: “Everyone who took part came away with a different outlook on driving after seeing the aftermath of an accident and the impacts it can have.”

Steve Fisher, Chris Smailes and Sallie McKay Roper from DSFRS also brought along a simulator and virtual reality (VR) headsets as well to show the dangers it can cause for the driver, the passengers and people in other vehicles.

Mr Fisher was very appreciative of the support given by McDonald’s and the people who attended the event.

He said: “A huge thank you to Dermot McGeough, the mayor of Bideford for attending the event on his last day as mayor and McDonald’s for their support and allowing their staff and the public to use the simulator and VR headsets.”

It is illegal to drive any vehicle whilst on a mobile phone and the fine is £200 and six penalty points on a licence.

This campaign will hopefully decrease the amount of drivers receiving this fine.

According to research by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA), drivers using a phone at the wheel are four more times more likely to crash, kill or injure themselves and/or others.

For more information on Red Thumb Day and mobile phone-driving in general visit www.myredthumb.com.