Texting and driving poses serious threats to drivers

3 Apr
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Next Up Performance worker Kris Bass posing to be on his phone behind the wheel. Picture: Amanda Doyle

By Amanda Doyle, Bond University Journalism Student

Palm Beach Police Officer Douglas Hunter said Australians who use their mobile phones behind the wheel of a moving car multiply their risk of a serious crash by four times.

That includes both hitting someone and also being hit.

In Queensland, if a driver’s mobile phone is in their hand while driving, regardless if they are stopped, drivers can be fined $365 and lose three demerit points.

Officer Hunter warned Australians of the seriousness of being distracted on the road,

“It only takes being distracted for two seconds to veer into another lane, make risky decisions, or have slow reaction times,” he said.

“The phone related car incidents I see the most of are rear end crashes at low speeds, however I also see many write offs at significantly high speeds.

“Drivers tend not to admit that they were distracted at the time of a crash for many obvious reasons, however it is usually quite apparent that they were not focused on the road.”

The most recent Queensland Government survey polled 3000 drivers in 2014 and found approximately 76% of Queenslanders admit to using their mobile phone illegally whilst driving.

Next Up Performance worker Kris Vass is aware of the dangers of texting and driving as he often does repairs on cars that are subject to this kind of damage.

“I see it all the time, often the damage is minor from these kind of incidents but some cars can be quite damaged,” Mr Vass said.

Some rear-end crashes can be harmless, however some drivers aren’t so lucky.

University of Queensland Biomedical Science student Lisa Clarke was stopped at a traffic light when a driver ran into the rear end of her car causing her to suffer whiplash.

“The driver behind me was checking his social media and did not see the red light, he must’ve been going at least 50 kilometres per hour,” Ms Clarke said.

“Along with suffering whiplash, my car was also significantly damaged.

“Using your phone while driving is illegal for a reason, it’s just a selfish thing to do.”

Officer Hunter recommended a cradle for the phone to be installed in the centre of the dashboard so drivers can make hands-free phone calls and also use their phones for navigation.

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