Use your mobile phone responsibly while driving this Easter

 17 April 2014

It’s not appropriate for drivers to use their legal hands-free mobile phones in all situations on busy roads over the Easter and Anzac Day long weekends. When drivers judge that it’s safe they must use cradles or Bluetooth to comply with the law.

The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) today released video information to increase driver awareness of potential dangers on the road during the busy Easter/ Anzac Day holiday period.

The videos show how they can comply with laws and reduce risks from mobile phone distractions that take their eyes off the road.

AMTA Chief Executive Officer, Chris Althaus, said although it’s legal to use approved cradles and Bluetooth for mobiles, drivers needed to exercise caution and judgement when deciding to use their mobiles to make or receive calls.

“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,” he said.

“Drivers should not make calls in in heavy traffic, at intersections or in bad weather or poor road conditions.

“If a call is unnecessary or you consider it unsafe at the time, don’t answer the call. Let it divert to voicemail or an answering service.”

Mr Althaus said although most people understood that texting and driving is very dangerous with a 2300 per cent increased risk of a crash or near crash, it was not widely known that reaching for objects, such as mobiles, is also dangerous.

He said leading American research had found that there was nearly a 9 times or 900 per cent greater risk of crashing when drivers took their eyes off the road to reach for a mobile from a bag, seat or central console in a car.

Mr Althaus said: “The most effective action drivers can take to reduce risks and comply with the law is to place their mobiles in approved cradles fixed to the dashboard or windscreen so they are looking at the road ahead and not glancing down when making or receiving calls.”

Drivers can also use Bluetooth hands-free devices.

Drivers going interstate this Easter should be aware that road rules for mobile use can vary between the States and Territories.

Drivers should visit AMTA’s website: www.keepyoureyesontheroad.org.au for tips on responsible mobile phone use while driving and learn how they can comply with the law in all Australian States and Territories.

For more information contact Randal Markey, AMTA, 0421 240 550