The illegal use of mobile phones while driving is a distraction. This is likely to result in a driver not detecting a motorcyclist which could result in a collision.
Where We Are Now:
The current position is that mobile phones may be used by fully licensed riders to make or answer a call, play music or as a GPS, as long as the phone is in a cradle fixed to the vehicle and doesn’t obscure the view of the road. If it is not secured or not in a cradle, it can be operated provided no part of the phone is touched or otherwise manipulated.
Texting, using social media, emailing, taking photos or holding the phone within a vehicle is banned in NSW.
In the US, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) in 2006 reported that, “Nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the event. The primary causes of driver inattention in this major study included such distracting activities as cell phone use..”
In Australia, surveys have indicated that 98% of people believe that using a mobile phone while driving, for example, is very dangerous, and yet 28% of people admit to doing it themselves.
MCCNSW views any driver distraction, including from mobile phone use, as a real danger to the lives of motorcyclists.
It is illegal to have more than 2 stone chips greater than 16mm or cracks longer that 30mm in the drivers half of a windscreen, yet it is common to see phones and GPS mounted where they block a driver’s view of the road ahead.
Where We Want To Be:
Making drivers aware of the danger of mobile phone use while driving should be given top priority in current road safety media campaigns and L and P plate course syllabus.
Penalties for mobile phone use needs to be reviewed to ensure mobile phone use is treated as a high risk / high penalty offence.
It is illegal to mount any device such as a phone or GPS where it blocks the driver’s half of the windscreen.
How To Get There:
- Review the penalties for mobile phone use. Increase the first penalty to 6 points, second instance loss of licence.
- Propose an on-going media campaign which communicates the risks posed by mobile phone use while driving
- Review the licensing process to ensure new drivers and renewing drivers understand the risks of mobile phone use. This may be in the form of a flyer with renewing licences.
- Increased research into the use of mobile phones while driving.
- Improved driver education that includes the risks of mobile phone use while driving and ways to avoid such risks.
- Encourage vehicle design which addresses in-vehicle distractions.
- Lobby for restrictions on the mounting of phones and GPS where they block the driver’s view of their half of the windscreen.