Wigan girl launches campaign to stop drivers using their phones

A Wigan schoolgirl has started a campaign taking a stance against motorists using their mobile phones while driving.

Friday, 8th March 2019, 1:26 pm
Updated Friday, 8th March 2019, 2:33 pm
Lydia with her sign

Nine-year-old Lydia Hilton, from Ince-in-Makerfield, created her own warning sign telling drivers to ditch their devices while at the wheel, before standing outside her home holding it for five hours.

Lydia was eager to educate her elders in the lessons of safe driving after being involved in a near-miss in a car when one driver was on the phone.

Using little more than A4 pieces of paper, sellotape and a red felt tip pen, Lydia set about getting her message of “get off your phone, you moron” across to hundreds of commuters on Ince Green Lane.

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Lydia with her sign

Neil Hilton, Lydia’s dad, said that he and his daughter started playing “spot the driver on their mobile” after their near miss, but that it was her idea to then alert vehicle users to the dangers of this action.

Lydia, who attends St Andrew’s CofE Primary School, said: “There’s a lot of traffic going down this road and I saw a lot of people on their phones, so I made the sign telling them not to do it.

“At first I held it at the window of my house, but I wanted to make sure they could see it, so I took it outside and made the words bigger.

“My friends at school asked me ‘why did you do that?’ and I told them that people could die if they carried on doing it.

“I’m happy I’ve got the courage to do something like this.”

Lydia’s effort was well received by those who witnessed it, many of who were giving her thumbs-up signs and winding their windows down to tell her she was doing the right thing.

Neil Hilton said that some drivers were throwing their phones onto the passenger seat after seeing Lydia’s sign.

He said: “It was quite hilarious seeing people guiltily chuck aside their mobiles when it became apparent they were caught in the act.

“One woman who was on her phone actually stopped her car and asked Lydia what the sign said, and when she told her ‘it says get off your phone’, she replied ‘shut up’ before driving off.”

Lydia is hoping to expand upon her solo campaign by working with her school to get more children involved, with one proposal involving a large group of pupils holding similar signs at busy junctions to spread the word of safer driving in the borough.