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Ban on using a mobile phone while driving

Ban on using a mobile phone while driving

  • 2015-05-11

ALMOST half of South Australian motorists want an outright ban on using a mobile phone while driving, a road safety survey has revealed.

And four out of five motorists believe that illegally calling or texting behind the wheel is similar to drink-driving, according to the Volvo Driver Safety Index.

The state’s peak road safety body says consideration should be given to a complete ban on drivers using mobile phones.

The Volvo survey found 43 per cent of SA drivers — the highest in the nation — supported an outright ban on drivers using a mobile phone.

It found 80 per cent of motorists agreed that calling or texting on a mobile phone while driving was similar to being under the influence of alcohol while behind the wheel.

Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of SA drivers supported increasing mobile phone fines, including more than one in three (36 per cent) favouring doubling existing penalties.

On Saturday, The Advertiser revealed the State Government was considering increasing demerit points for illegal mobile phone use among a raft of road safety measures to reduce the road toll.

More than 120,000 motorists in Australia are fined each year for illegally texting or talking on a mobile phone, according to Volvo.

In SA, motorists can use a mobile phone while driving via Bluetooth, a headset or earphones without touching, holding or resting the phone on their body.

Drivers caught using a mobile phone illegally face a $368 fine and the loss of three demerit points.

RAA Road Safety senior manager Charles Mountain said mobile phones, even when used as hands-free devices, were a distraction for drivers.

Mr Mountain said texting while driving was a bigger issue than phone calls.

“(An outright ban) is probably something that should be looked at ultimately as the use of these devices increases,” he said.

The Volvo survey found most motorists illegally using a mobile phone were aged under 35, with about half admitting to regularly texting, calling, or surfing the internet without a hands-free device.

Drivers’ excuses for their behaviour towards the offence showed:

32 PER CENT did it out of habit.

26 PER CENT could multi-task while driving.

22 PER CENT wanted to remain connected to family, friends or work.

7 PER CENT were addicted to texting.

A police spokeswoman said that, although it did not comment on external surveys, using mobile phones and other electronic devices while driving was a distraction and increased the risk of a crash.

“Our message to drivers is that they need to accept responsibility and give the task of driving their full attention,” the spokeswoman said.

“If you can’t trust yourself not to be distracted by your mobile phone while driving, then turn it off or put it in the boot.”

Volvo Car Australia managing director Kevin McCann said SA drivers’ strong support for a tougher approach to illegal mobile phone use highlighted growing concerns about road safety.
Originally published as Drivers call for complete mobile phone ban(from news.com.au)

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