Distracted driving

17 April 2020

When it comes to safe driving, the percentages add up

Recently, I was reading some research commissioned by an insurance comparison company about distracted driver behaviour. And the numbers aren’t pretty.

The national survey of 1000 adult Australian drivers presented eight common vehicle distractions – eating, drinking (any beverage), texting, searching for items on the back seat, using mobile apps, wearing headphones, grooming, and watching videos – and asked respondents whether they had done any of these things while driving, or while stationary in traffic.

Alarmingly, 78 percent admitted to ‘multi-tasking’ behind the wheel. Consequently, distraction results in almost one in 10 fatalities and 14 percent of all motor vehicle crashes.

Let’s have a closer look at the numbers. While driving, 34 percent of motorists admitted to consuming beverages and 29 percent said they’ve eaten. ‘Only’ eight percent admitted to texting and using apps while driving, but nearly a quarter reported having texted while stationary in traffic, such as at a red light.

It’s illegal to hold or use a mobile device at any time, when in control of a vehicle, even when idling. Drivers can only make or receive calls if their phone’s in a cradle and can be operated hands-free with Bluetooth controls. New ‘phone cameras’ will catch you out and heavy fines and demerit points are only the beginning of the misery caused by distracted drivers. Plus, if you cause an accident and are found to have been infringing traffic rules, your insurance provider may invalidate your claim.

Stay alert at the wheel and keep yourself and others alive.

Words: VACC CEO, Geoff Gwilym. As featured in the Herald Sun 17 April 2020.

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