The NSW government have a message for drivers thinking about using their mobile phones illegally while on the road: Get Your Hands Off It!
That’s the name of a new road safety campaign launched yesterday (June 12) by roads minister Duncan Gay to highlight the excuses many motorists make for illegally using their phones on the road and alerting them to the dangers.
“Our research into this emerging issue has shown that 49 per cent of motorists make calls using a handheld phone while driving,” said Mr Gay in a statement.
“It amazes me that people pick up their phone and take their eyes off the road to make and receive calls, send and check texts and emails or check Facebook and Twitter, all while they’re at the wheel of a moving vehicle.”
The campaign will use traditional advertising as well as a YouTube music video to communicate the message that mobile phone use is a dangerous distraction while driving, which could have tragic consequences.
The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) welcomed the campaign, and chief executive officer Chris Althaus said that his organisation supported efforts to alert drivers to the dangers of using mobile phones while driving.
“It targets the clearly dangerous, illegal and unacceptable practice of texting [while driving], which has a 23.2 times greater risk of a crash,” said Mr Althaus in a statement.
AMTA recommends that drivers install a cradle for their phone and use functions such as Bluetooth audio and voice-activated dialing, so their attention need not leave the road.
According to Roads and Maritime Services, NSW drivers may only use a mobile phone to make or take a call or to use the audio playing function if it is secured in a fixed mounting or if a hands-free device is used.
Other functions such as texting, video messaging, emailing and online chatting are prohibited at all times that the vehicle is moving or stationary (but not parked).
While the exact contribution of mobile phone use while driving to car accident crash statistics is difficult to quantify, what is certain is that the devices can easily distract their users from their surroundings.
This can endanger other road users as well as the drivers themselves and their passengers.
People injured in car accidents in NSW where they aren’t to blame, or are only partly to blame, may be entitled to car accident compensation.