Mobile phones in cars targeted

Thursday, 10 July, 2003

Almost one third of Australia's motorists continue to use handheld mobile phones while driving despite acknowledging the practice is dangerous and against the law, according to new research commissioned by Telstra.

The research comes as police and NRMA Insurance join Telstra in its Drive Safe.Phone Safe campaign, which aims to change the behaviour of motorists who continue to use handheld mobile phones behind the wheel.

Telstra's Consumer and Marketing Group Managing Director, Ted Pretty, said Telstra's latest research found that 76% of Australians surveyed acknowledged that using mobile phone handsets while driving was dangerous.

"Our research shows that more than 32% of drivers surveyed admit they ignore their better judgement, and the law, to take mobile phone calls while driving, despite knowing they are risking the safety of themselves and others," Pretty said.

"Our Drive Safe.Phone Safe initiative encourages motorists to use a hands-free device for their mobile phones whilst driving and to pull over in a safe place if they want to send an SMS, retrieve a message or dial a number."

NRMA's Insurance Personal Injury and Health Insurance Group Executive, Doug Pearce, said there was mounting evidence that driving while talking on a handheld mobile phone was contributing to road crashes.

"Making a phone call while driving is like Adam Gilchrist trying to keep wicket with one hand tied behind his back," Pearce said.

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