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A Telstra survey has revealed that almost ten per cent of motorists have been in an accident or nearly involved in one by using a mobile phone while driving. This is despite the fact that 93 per cent of those surveyed know that this behaviour was illegal.Executive Director of Telstra Consumer, Renae Smith said that the research provided a timely alarm given the number of families and motorists expected on roads this Easter long weekend.

“Of concern, our research indicates that only half of motorists believe using mobile phones while driving can cause serious accidents, showing why many people continue such risky behaviour behind the wheel. On top of this, with email-enabled smartphones and mobile devices with in-built GPS navigators on the rise, it’s more important than ever for motorists to familiarise themselves with the relevant state laws and ensure they are not breaking any laws,” said Smith.

In addition, the survey has also revealed that almost three-quarters of motorists believe talking on a mobile phone while behind the wheel impacts their ability to drive, with women (78.2 per cent) more likely than men (70.6 per cent) to agree this is the case.  

Nearly one-third of motorists admit to speaking on their handset for one to two minutes every time they receive a call in the car, while male motorists are more likely than women to use their mobile for longer conversations while behind the wheel.

Ms Smith said motorists should remember that any distraction while driving can have an adverse affect on their ability to anticipate the road ahead.

“Looking at a phone while driving takes motorists’ eyes off the road and can cause accidents. For the sake of your family and other motorists, if you need to make a phone call while driving, pull over to the side of the road safely or if you need to answer a call then let it divert to MessageBank,” added Smith.

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