Mobile phones and driving is a deadly combination

Jul 01 2016

“Texting, surfing the internet or talking on the phone while driving is distracting, increases your chance of being involved in a crash or near crash and is also illegal and carries a hefty fine,” said Alison Boyes, Superintendent Transit, Safety Division Victoria Police.

Superintendent Boyes explained that she recently became the liaison point for the taxi industry within Victoria Police and is still learning all the ins and outs of the job.

“However, from day one I saw a key issue facing the industry in general and taxi drivers specifically is the use of mobile phones while driving.

“I imagine that it is very tempting to use a mobile phone while driving a cab.   

“When the car is your work place the lure of the mobile phone can be strong. However chatting on the phone or texting can easily divert your attention from the task of driving safely,” Superintendent Boyes said.

She said that as our dependency on technology increases so does the temptation to use it, even when driving.

“It’s no secret that driver distraction contributes significantly to serious road crashes. 

‘Driving is a complex task, and to anticipate and avoid hazards on the road, you need to concentrate and give it your full attention,” Ms Boyes said.

DID YOU KNOW: Between 15-20% of all distractions appear to involve driver interaction with technology and can result in rear-end crashes, same travel-way or same direction crashes, single vehicle crashes, and crashes occurring at night.

“Our figures show that a driver using a mobile phone is four times more likely to crash, “ Ms Boyes said

“Talking or texting on a mobile phone, along with speeding, fatigue and drink driving, is one of the major causes of collisions on Victorian roads.

“The key message that people need to understand is: no phone call, no message is worth risking your life or somebody else's, the problem is that people are addicted to their phones,” said Superintendent Boyes.

That’s why all drivers face tough penalties for illegal use of a mobile phone or interacting with other devises that have visual displays, like DVD players or tablet computers that are not drivers aides.

The penalties are 4 demerit points and a hefty $455 fine.

“Let’s be clear… texting, video messaging, online chatting, reading preview messages and emailing via the phone is illegal, even if the phone is secured or if the car is stationary but not parked.

“It is a fact that sending a text message is even more distracting than talking on a mobile phone.

“It is an offence to hold the phone while driving or when stationary and it is also illegal to rest the phone on one's lap or hold it between one's ear and shoulder,” Superintendent Boyes said.

“Victoria Police is serious about stamping out illegal phone use in cars, it is our mission to highlight the dangers of mobile use while driving and get people to adjust their behaviour.”

The safest option is to turn your mobile phone off while driving.

Ms Boyes said she was enjoying her current role and finding out more about the taxi industry.”   

“I’d like to thank the Victorian Taxi Association for giving me an opportunity to talk about the dangers of using mobile phones while driving.  

“It is also great to see the proactive approach the Association is taking on this subject through their information card,” Superintendent Boyes said.

Here are some Do’s and Don’ts:

Do’s

If a phone is secured in a commercially designed holder fixed to the vehicle, drivers are allowed to:

  • Make and receive phone calls
  • Listen to music/audio(without video)
  • Use the phone as a GPS

Drivers can also use hands-free devises such as coded or bluetooth earpieces but only if it can operate without touching the phone and is not resting on then drivers body.

Don’ts

When driving it is illegal to:

  • Hold a phone or rest it in your lap, even if turned off
  • Use a hand-held phone at anytime, including when the vehicle is stationary but not parked, eg stopped at traffic lights
  • Use a phone to watch videos, send or read text messages or play games
  • View text messages when received


Remember… drivers caught using mobile phones while driving in Victoria will receive a $445 fine and attract 4 license demerit points
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