1 in 5 have near miss because of mobile phones — NRMA report reveals

NRMA Motoring & Services

Thursday, 09 November, 2017

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An NRMA report into the impact of smartphone distractions behind the wheel has found over one in five (21%) drivers have been involved in a near-miss behind the wheel because the other driver was using a phone while driving.

Can’t talk. Driving’, which includes the findings of a survey of 1037 NRMA members across NSW and the ACT, found that almost one-fifth (19%) of motorists read texts while driving and 18% use their phone illegally.

Alarmingly, while almost all drivers (99%) acknowledged it was illegal to use a phone without a hands-free device or Bluetooth,15% believed they would not likely get caught breaking the law.

More than half of people surveyed (55%) are using their phones legally.

Technology companies have designed apps that help prevent drivers from being distracted by their phone while driving. An example is the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature in Apple’s new iOS 11 operating system. This feature will automatically detect when someone is in a car and will block notifications and texts and stop drivers from opening apps on their phone.

The NRMA has welcomed this type of technology as a step in the right direction in reducing distraction, but acknowledges that the challenge will be getting drivers to enable the function every time they get behind the wheel. Other recommendations included in the report that are:

  • The adoption of new technology that discourages the use of mobile phones while driving.
  • Improving data collection and analysis around the impact of mobile phone use on crashes that lead to fatalities and injuries.
  • Introducing restrictions on mobile phone use for provisional and learner drivers in the ACT.
  • A review into the NSW Government’s ‘Get Your Hand Off it’ campaign.

NRMA Chairman Kyle Loades said the NRMA report highlighted that with 41% of people involved in serious casualty crashes where a handheld phone was a contributing factor under the age of 26, it was clear more needed to be done to keep high-risk groups safe.

For the full report, visit the NRMA website.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/ngad

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