Drivers given “Grim” reminder to stop flirting with Death in new road safety campaign

South Australia Police has launched a new road safety campaign asking drivers to put away their phone while driving and to “Stop Flirting with Death”.

The campaign showcases the reality that every mobile phone interaction while driving might as well be an interaction with the Grim Reaper, who will do everything possible to distract the driver and lure them to a far worse destination.

The campaign targets primarily 20 to 39 year old drivers who account for around 60 per cent of mobile phone infractions.

Superintendent Darren Fielke, Officer in Charge of Traffic Support Branch, said the proliferation and increasing functionality of smart-phones is increasing people’s reliance on them and therefore the risk that they will use them illegally.

“Unfortunately, mobile phone use is becoming increasingly common while driving, everyone would have seen someone using their mobile phone while driving,” said Superintendent Fielke.

“Using a mobile phone while driving increases a driver’s crash risk by at least four times. So far this year distraction has been a suspected cause in 1904 collisions.”

Attitudinal research with the target audience shows that a key motivator to use the phone while driving is perceived ‘down time’ in the car and busy lives that make ignoring the phone and potential ‘important calls’ difficult, with more than two thirds of people admitting to using their phone illegally.

“Every second that your eyes are on your phone, they are not on the road ahead of you, and you’re driving blindly. The message is simple, stop flirting with death and leave your phone alone while driving,” Superintendent Fielke said.

“It’s not only texting or answering phone calls anymore; it’s also streaming music and podcasts, GPS and increasing connection to social media. The challenge is not giving in to the temptation when a new notification pops up on the phone, or when someone is texting or calling.”

The new campaign presents the Grim Reaper as temptation provided by a known person – a friend, a family member, a partner – providing the lure to give in to their phone. Using this physical manifestation of death shows what might await drivers who give in to that temptation.

The campaign was tested amongst the target audience, who appreciated the fresh angle and humorous nature of the advert, whilst acknowledging the seriousness of the key message.

Minister for Police Dan Cregan said the targeted approach would help young people to recognise the grim reality of distraction behind the wheel.

“Distraction kills – and swiping, scrolling or sharing content on your phone while driving is far too often to blame,” Mr Cregan said.

“The Government is determined to work with South Australia Police to change this all-too-common behaviour and reduce the tragedies on our roads.” The new campaign will start on Sunday and will air on TV, outdoor, radio and digital channels.


  • Over the past five years (1 January 2019 to 31 December 2023), Distraction has played a significant part in causing crashes that resulted in 1,715 serious injuries and 199 lives lost in South Australia.
  • Between 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2023, 30,295 expiations were issued by SA Police members to drivers/riders for using a mobile phone whilst driving, but know this issue is more widespread.
  • Distraction has been a suspected cause in 1904 collisions so far in 2024, with 10 lives lost and 160 serious injuries being attributed to distraction. (Please note that collisions involving distraction relate to more offences then just mobile phone use).
  • Driver distraction is a significant contributing factor in road crashes. Using a mobile phone while driving increases a driver’s crash risk by at least four times.

/Public Release. View in full here.