AMTA today released video information to increase driver awareness of potential dangers on the road during the extended Easter/ Anzac Day holiday period.
AMTA Chief Executive Chris Althaus said although motorists were generally aware of the extreme dangers posed by texting and emailing (23 times or 2300 per cent greater risk of a crash), there was less awareness of the significant risks associated with drivers illegally reaching for a mobile from a bag, pocket, seat or centre console while behind the wheel.
“Leading researchers have assessed that drivers face an 8.8 times or nearly 900% greater risk of crashing if they reach for objects, such as mobiles, on their laps or on the seat while driving,” he said.
AMTA said the dangers associated with reaching for objects highlights the importance of Australia’s mobile phone cradle law, which requires drivers to mount their phone in a cradle attached to the windscreen or dashboard to reduce distractions caused by looking for their phone or using it illegally in their lap.
Althaus said any activity that required drivers to take their eyes off the road greatly increased risks to all road users.
“The most effective action that drivers can take this long weekend to reduce risks and comply with the law is to use mobiles in approved cradles or with Bluetooth devices to ensure that they keep their eyes looking on the road ahead.”
Althaus said it was not appropriate for drivers to use their legal hands-free mobile phones in all situations on busy roads.
“Drivers should not make calls in in heavy traffic, at intersections or in bad weather or poor road conditions.
“If a call is unnecessary or you consider it unsafe at the time, don’t answer the call. Letit divert to voicemail or an answering service.”
Drivers should visit AMTA’s website here for tips on responsible mobile phone use while driving and learn how they can comply with the law in all Australian States and Territories.