Get there safely – keep your eyes on the road, not your phone
Australians love driving and we also love our mobile phones but it’s really important to know the rules about mobiles and safe driving so we all get to our destinations safely.
AMTA’s top safe driving tips are:
- Never Text – it’s very dangerous and illegal: Texting drivers take their eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds over a 6-second interval. This means that at 60kph a driver is not watching the road for 75 metres or half the length of the MCG!
- Always keep your eyes on the road: The clear lesson from the latest research is that keeping your eyes on the road is critical in reducing driving risks from mobile phone use. While talking and listening may not be too distracting in light traffic and good driving conditions; taking your eyes off the road to dial or answer is dangerous.
- Buy, install and use a cradle for your phone: The Australian Road Rules require drivers to place their mobiles in approved cradles affixed to the dashboard so they are looking at the road ahead and not glancing down. Drivers can also use a Bluetooth provided they do not touch their handset. Study the road rules for hands-free mobile use in your State or Territory. Some newer cars allow you to connect your mobile to your car’s system and even enable the setting of controls so that the phone cannot be used for texting while driving.
- Use your smartphone’s features: Smartphones provide voice-activated dialling and automatic answering features to reduce the effort of making and receiving a call and allow drivers’ eyes to remain on the road at all times. You can install apps that limit a phone to calling and voice activation. Smart drivers use their handsets’ technology to reduce driving distractions. Some phones and apps can now restrict unsafe mobile use while driving.
- Don’t always answer your mobile: Hands-free mobiles in cars are legal in all States and Territories. However, this does not mean it’s appropriate for drivers to use them at all times. Drivers should not make calls in heavy traffic, at intersections or in bad weather or poor road conditions. If a call is unnecessary or you consider it unsafe to answer at the time, don’t answer the call. Let it divert to voicemail or an answering service. Some apps or phones now allow you to divert incoming calls to a standard SMS to let callers know that you are driving and will get back to them later.