Should we crack down on deadly texting drivers?
When you’re on the roads have you noticed the mass of drivers whose eyes seem to be glued to their lap as they tap and scroll on their phones? Or are you guilty of checking your device while behind the wheel like a massive twenty five percent of NSW drivers have admitted to doing?
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen cars roll forward and nearly collide at the lights because their focus was directed towards a screen and not the road.
According to the Northern Daily Leader the NSW government has come down the hardest, increasing the penalty for ‘illegal phone use’ from four to five demerit points, and doubling to ten points during holiday seasons. Fines sit at $377 and rise to $448 when in a school zone. Between 2012 and 2017 there were 175 crashes that involved mobile phones, leaving fifty people seriously injured and nine dead.
One issue seems to be that no one actually knows what counts as ‘illegal’ phone use. Using your mobile to text or message while driving has been illegal for a long time across all Aussie states, and NSW has banned holding your phone at all, even if it’s resting in your lap or cradled between your ear and shoulder. According to NRMA if you wish to use your phone – only to accept or end calls – it must be secured in a holder.
Despite raised penalties and even talk of cameras to catch texting drivers, is enough being done to keep our roads safe? How could we better keep drivers’ eyes on the roads and their phones in the back seat?