Car driver using mobile phone
Drivers missing texting message

An alarming new study has found that people who drive are more concerned with the “fear of missing out” than by the fear of crashing while texting and driving.

The research from Queensland’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety (CARRS-Q) found that drivers don’t believe that texting while driving is dangerous.

This is despite road safety statistics that say using a phone while driving increases your chances of having a serious crash four-fold.

An Australian government report also recently highlighted that distracted driving will be a key cause in the increase of road fatalities and serious injuries in Australia over the next 12 years.

Researcher Dr Oscar Oviedo-Trespalacios told the Courier Mail that using phones while driving has moved beyond simply texting and making calls.

“We have hit an era where people live via their phones and the devices cause many different distractions," researcher Dr Oscar Oviedo-Trespalacios said.

"Keeping people off the devices is increasingly more difficult. Queenslanders have actually become very proficient at hiding their illegal phone movements from police. It is disappointing that the message about mobile distraction has not got through."

Unfortunately, the research many not come as a shock to people who ride bikes with many riders reporting that they regularly see motorists texting and driving.

NSW increases distracted driver demerits 

NSW drivers who get caught using their mobile phone will now receive five demerit points, up from four.

Drivers are not permitted to touch their phone will driving, however they can use some functions if the phone is in a cradle and activated without physically touching it.

Roads Minister Melinda Pavey said that on some occasions, the new rules drivers could automatically lose their license if caught on the phone.

"If you think about long weekends or double demerit periods you could actually be at risk of losing your license," she said.

The change comes after government surveys showed that 74 per cent of people support a tougher penalties for phone use.

However, research from NSW motoring group NRMA shows that almost half of drivers do indeed use their phones illegally, indicating that despite knowing they shouldn't use phones they just can't help themselves.

Click here to read an ABC report

Tweed Coast man launches campaign

A Tweed Coast man is calling on tech giants to make phones automatically block calls and texts in cars.

Graham Walters was riding bike when he was by a driver reaching for their phone

He has launched a petition to change technology that stops phone receiving calls and messages from being opt-in to opt-out.

In May 2018, Bicycle Network mounted our own campaign which called for mandatory mobile phone intervention technology as a drastic way to stop people using phones while driving.

“As bike riders we can see into cars and what drivers are up to. Every day we despair when we see drivers texting or just mucking around on Facebook. We understand the addictive lure of the phone but it’s risking people’s lives,” Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards said at the time.

"It's clear that current policing isn't curbing behaviour. It’s unfair to put the burden on the police. We need to take phone use out of the hands of drivers."

See the article as it appeared in the Herald Sun

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