MAC General Manager of Road Safety Michael Cornish says research shows people increasingly believe that using phones while driving is anti-social behaviour but that they are unlikely to alter their behaviour unless caught.
“Mobile phones are a serious and growing threat to road safety with driver inattention reported as the primary cause in almost 38 per cent of fatal crashes and 52 per cent of serious injury crashes last year,” Michael Cornish says.
“Some drivers may think they have the skill to check their phones and drive safely, but research shows that mobile phone use while driving impairs reaction time and hazard perception.
“Drivers must give their full attention at all times and using a mobile when driving has been shown to increase the risk of being involved in a crash by at least four times.
“Taking your eyes off the road to use a mobile phone is unacceptably dangerous behaviour and could cost you your life.”
Mobile phones have been targeted because they are a growing area of concern for the community.
MAC’s new Mobile distraction campaign
The National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 recognises distraction as “a major and potentially growing problem area” and the SA Road Safety Action Plan documents the enforcement of mobiles and other distractions as a complementary measure to its key priorities.
While talking and texting have been targeted for a number of years, the increasing proliferation of smart phones has elevated the issue.
With all the functionality of desktop PC’s, mobile devices now offer the driver a multitude of distracting features.
MAC’s new campaign includes television and radio advertisements, a YouTube video and bus shelter posters.
The message is clear – looking at your mobile phone is anti-social and dangerous behaviour and not a good look.
“When driving at 60kmph, if you take your eyes off the road to look at a text for just three seconds you will travel 50m blind. Imagine if a child stepped onto the road in that time,” Michael Cornish says.
“For regional driving if you are travelling at 110kmph and you take your eyes off the road for three seconds you will travel almost 92 metres without watching the road.
“That is a long way to have travelled without watching where you are going.”
Drivers are not permitted to touch, hold or rest a phone on their body while driving and being caught doing so will cost you $375 and three demerit points.
“The fact is if you think you can get away with using your mobile while driving, think again. Everyone can see what you’re doing, including the police – it’s not a good look,” Michael Cornish says.
“All road users need to take personal responsibility for their driving. If you cannot avoid the temptation of checking your phone, plan ahead by switching it off and placing it in the boot of your car or glove box.
“If a person wishes to make or receive a call, and needs to touch any part of the phone to do so, that phone must be mounted in a commercially manufactured holder designed for that purpose.
“Learner and P1 drivers are not permitted to use any mobile phone function while driving, including Bluetooth.”