Driving up risks of a real close call
ONE in five motorists has had a near-miss on the roads because other drivers have been distracted by their mobile phones.
And almost a fifth of motorists admit to reading text messages while driving and using their phones illegally.
NRMA director Tim Trumper said new research showed that drivers were twice as likely to have a crash if they took their eyes off the road for two seconds or more.
“If you’re using your phone illegally behind the wheel you’ll have slower reaction times, you’ll struggle to maintain control of the car and you’ll be less aware of your surroundings,” he said.
The NRMA’s Can’t Talk. Driving report, released today, details research and surveys which reveal that young people under the age of 26 account for almost half of all crashes involving phones.
More than 60 per cent of people who use their phone illegally while driving expect to get caught.
The report calls for a review of the effectiveness of the state government’s Get Your Hand Off It campaign, and for new technology to be introduced to stop illegal phone use.
“Can’t Talk. Driving highlights the risks that distractions are causing on our roads with people twice as likely to have a crash or near-crash if they take their eyes off the road for two seconds or more,” Mr Trumper said.
“As highlighted by this report, this behaviour is happening all too often and it is leading to an increase in the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads.
“That’s why the NRMA wants to see new measures taken to reduce the temptation, reduce the risk and help save lives — especially among some of our youngest and most inexperienced drivers.”
The survey also found that 55 per cent of people use their phones legally while driving, usually to let people know that they are running late, to take work calls or contact their family members.
Just 20 per cent of people used them in emergencies.