RACQ and the Sunday Mail have renewed calls for motorists to stop using their mobile phones while driving by launching a controversial new road safety campaign. ‘Bag a phone, not a body’ aims to draw attention to the deadly risks associated with texting, using social media and making and receiving phone calls while driving. Motorists are encouraged to place their phones in their bag and out of sight while driving.
The occurrence of distracted driving continues to increase on Queensland roads. Advances in technology mean that motorists are using their mobile phones, navigation devices and streaming music while they drive. The risks are real – if you look at your phone for 2 seconds whilst travelling at 60km/hr, your vehicle travels almost 35m. At 100km/hr, your vehicle travels 55m. This response time is equivalent to driving whilst two times over the legal alcohol limit.
Researchers have found that motorists who are distracted by a mobile phone are four times more likely to be involved in a serious crash. In 2015 there were 25 fatal accidents, a tenth of the road toll, involving motorists distracted or using a mobile phone. In the first nine months of 2016, five fatalities on Queensland roads were directly linked to the use of a mobile phone.
The Motor Accident Insurance Commission supports initiatives to reduce injury and fatalities on Queensland roads and encourages drivers to pull over or wait until arriving at their destination before using their phone.