Using a mobile phone in a car is more dangerous than drink driving claims the Federal Government, who this week launched a new investigation to see if we need additional safety initiatives governing Smartphones, navigation, alcohol deterrent devices as well as technology that eliminates driver error.A new initative has been put in place that calls on the heads of transport and roads agencies around the country to work together to prepare a new 10-year National Road Safety Strategy.
According to the Department of Infrastructure and Transport on average, four people are killed and 80 are seriously injured every day on Australia’s roads, and almost everyone has, at some stage, been affected by a road crash.
They also said that a recent study showed that certain aspects of driving performance are impaired more by using a phone than by being just over the legal alcohol limit.
Recent research released by the NSW Police and the RTA reveal that up to 30% of people involved in accidents have been talking on a mobile phone or were sending a text message while driving when their accident occurred.
Initiatives set to be discussed for Australia, include the development of a new range of programs that could lead to restrictions on night driving, mobile phones, the power output of vehicles, alcohol and speed technology and the mandatory wearing of seat belts by taxi drivers.
Also on the agenda is the introduction of new phone-off policies in all Government and private sector fleets, as well as an investigation of risks posed by mobile phone use among drivers with a view to totally banning mobile use in cars unless a hands free kit is installed by the manufacturer or third part.
Also being considered is electronic work diaries for commercial drivers and new automated drug testing programs for motorists.
The Department has also confirmed that they are set to look at new alcohol interlock devices especially for people convicted of an alcohol related offence.
Also under consideration is the mandatory introduction into vehicles of technology that minimises driver error.
The Department of Infrastructure and Transport claim that their strategy is intended to set an ambitious long-term vision for road safety improvement in Australia and to guide national action over the coming decade.
The Federal Government has admitted that the use of mobile phones has grown rapidly in recent years. This increase has been accompanied by a rise in the number of individuals using the mobile phone while driving.
If you want to comment on these issues go to: http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/safety/national_road_safety_strategy/index.aspx