Half of Victorian drivers use phones while driving

Thursday, July 5, 2018

A SURVEY has found more than half of the drivers on Victorian roads illegally use their mobile phones while driving.

The Transport Accident Commission survey of 1000 Victorian drivers late last year found 56 per cent admitted to either reading and writing texts, or taking calls while behind the wheel.

The figure had decreased from 62 per cent in the previous year’s survey.

The survey found 14 per cent of drivers read text messages while actively driving in the past month, and eight per cent wrote texts while driving during the period.

The most common phone usage occurred while waiting for the traffic lights to go green, when 36 per cent admitted to looking at their phones.

Eighteen per cent wrote texts while at the traffic lights.

TAC chief executive officer Janet Dore said it was disappointing that drivers were continuing to ignore the clear links between distraction and accidents.

“Unless drivers are totally focused on the task at hand, they are not in a position to respond to something unexpected like a pedestrian stepping out onto the road or a car stopping in front of them,” she said.

Victoria Police issued 46,375 infringements for illegal mobile phone use in 2013/14, down from 59,353 in 2012/13.

The penalty for using a handheld mobile phone while driving is four demerit points and a $433 fine.

Of those surveyed, 52 per cent of women said they never made or answered calls while driving, compared to 41 per cent of men.

Drivers aged 26 to 39 were the most likely to use their phones while driving, as 72 per cent said they made or answered calls.

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