Drivers need to be aware of five key safety tips this Christmas to reduce risk, comply with the law and keep their eyes on the road when using mobile phones.
The single most effective action drivers can take to reduce risk is to put their mobile phone in a cradle. They can also use Bluetooth or hands-free technology, single-button or voice-activated calling so they can keep their eyes on the road ahead.
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. Talking and listening are not too dangerous on mobiles in light traffic and good driving conditions, but taking your eyes off the road to dial or answer is risky.
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.
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.
Don’t always answer your mobile: Hands-free mobile phone use in cars is legal in all Australian 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.
For more safety information: www.keepyoureyesontheroad.org.au or contact 0417 270 689 for more information.