Monday, 20 May 2019

Cradle sales boom as NSW adopts national road rules on mobile phone use

CradleRetailers across NSW have reported selling out of mobile phone cradles and hands-free car kits after the state amended their mobile phone driving laws in line with national road rules.

The new laws, introduced by the state government at the start of the November last year, now specify that drivers cannot touch their phones at all unless they are placed in a commercially approved cradle.
Local retailers across a number of NSW suburbs including Orange, Penrith and Parramatta reported struggling to keep up with demand in the weeks following the laws implementation.
“I think in some ways the industry wasn’t prepared for the response to the new laws as some outlets have had difficulty getting enough stock,” Peter Cheney, owner of Orange car parts outlet Autobarn said.
“We’ve just had a real run on the kits and have been working hard to keep the supply up.”
“I think people have just realised with these changes they don’t want to lose the points and the fine is pretty heavy.”
AMTA Chief Executive Officer, Chris Althaus, said the mobile phone industry welcomed a national approach to driving laws that helped clarify what drivers can and cannot do with their mobile phones while driving.
“We are particularly pleased that NSW has taken steps to increase support, awareness and adoption of national road rules requiring drivers to use their mobiles in approved cradles to help reduce the risk of reaching for objects in cars, which have been shown to be 8.8 times more risky for adult drivers,” Mr Althaus said.
“This will also ensure that drivers’ eyes are looking at the forward roadway to reduce risks in taking their eyes off the road.”
The Australian Road Rules provide for drivers to use cradles affixed to the dashboard or windscreen to allow drivers to look ahead and reduce risks associated with reaching for handsets in cars and taking their eyes off the road. The laws also allow the use of Bluetooth devices provided the driver does not touch the handset.
Mr Althaus said AMTA had also released a new safety guide showing drivers how to comply with the national phone laws using best practice and smartphone technology that allows drivers to keep their eyes on the road.
The new brochure,  “Keep Your Eyes On the Road - how to reduce risk when driving and using a mobile phone,”  is based on the latest real world driving research that shows taking your eyes off the road to reach for a phone, dial or read and write text messages significantly increases the risks of crashing or having to take evasive action to avoid a crash.
Mr Althaus said the most effective action drivers could take to reduce risks is to put their mobile phone in a cradle or Bluetooth hands-free when driving and to use single-button dialling or voice-activated calling so they can keep their eyes on the road ahead.
“Smart drivers use the features of their smartphones to minimise the need to cast their eyes from the road ahead. The huge uptake of smartphones in Australia gives drivers the ability to use advanced features such as voice-activated calling to they keep their eyes on the road,” Mr Althaus said.
Mr Althaus said any approach to tackle driver distractions must also take in to account the range of distractions faced my drivers and not single out only mobile phones.
He said NSW Government driving statistics showed that during an 18-month period from July 1, 2010, to December 31, 2011, there had been 4913 crashes caused by distractions.
Of these 77 per cent had been distracted by something outside the car, 16 per cent by in-car distractions, 6 per cent by other factors and 1 per cent by using hand-held mobile phones.
“The NSW statistics are supported by the national road toll figures that show Australian road fatalities have continued to decline despite the exponential rate of mobile phone ownership in the last decade,” Mr Althaus said.

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