The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) offers the following tips for safer driving with mobile devices as part of general road safety advice for a safe and happy easter holiday break.
Always keep your eyes on the road - Driver distraction is one of the leading causes of accidents on our roads, and using a mobile phone while driving can increase reaction time to hazards that originate in the distracted driver’s peripheral vision by 50%, so it’s incredibly important that you keep your eyes on the road to reduce the driving risks from mobile phone use.
Reduce distractions before you start driving - A handy tip is to download any entertainment, like movies and music, for your children or passengers before hitting the road so they can watch uninterrupted on their hand-held devices, causing less distraction for the driver. According to Roads and Maritime services taking your eyes off the road for two seconds doubles the risk of a crash or near crash, that’s why it’s essential that you remove any distraction so you can ensure a safe trip.
Put your mobile phone in a cradle and use hands-free - Using a hand-held mobile phone while driving is illegal in Australia and this applies even if you are stopped at lights or in traffic. Not only is it illegal, but it’s extremely unsafe for both you and other drivers on the road. Road rules vary from state to state, but generally, if you would like to use your mobile phone for voice calls or navigation, the law demands securing the device in a cradle or using hands-free (i.e. via Bluetooth).
Leave your phone alone – In some states it’s illegal for drivers on a provisional licence to use a mobile phone at all whilst driving, even if it’s in a cradle or hands-free. To be safe it’s best for all drivers to place any mobile device out of sight when at the wheel. To avoid distraction you could even make it a habit to turn on the “do not disturb while driving” function on your mobile to completely remove the temptation of using your mobile.
If you are caught using your phone whilst driving the penalties could be severe, especially across the Easter long weekend, including expensive fines, double demerits or even losing your license. New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria also now use fixed and transportable mobile detection cameras which recognise when a driver uses their mobile phone, so it’s not only the police that can catch you and using your mobile phone whilst driving is really not worth the risk.
For more information on mobile phone offences, contact your local road safety agency.
The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) is the peak national body representing Australia’s mobile telecommunications industry. It aims to promote an environmentally, socially and economically responsible, successful and sustainable mobile telecommunications industry in Australia. Please see www.amta.org.au