The federal government is looking to cut the number of car crashes caused by drivers using their mobile phones.
A nationally coordinated education campaign focusing on the use of mobile phones in cars may be implemented, and drivers caught using their phones could face more severe fines. Drivers may also be forced to install technology in their cars to disable texts while driving.
Australian Automobile Association chief executive Michael Bradley said an urgent national inquiry into road deaths is needed because the National Road Safety Strategy is failing.
“Things are currently getting worse, not better, with road crashes now killing 25 Australians every week and now causing an Australian to be hospitalised every 12 minutes,” Mr Bradley said.
According to the Australian Automobile Association, mobile phone distraction is the leading cause of road fatalities, ahead of speeding, drink driving, using drugs and road rage.
In Australia, young drivers aged 18 to 24 have the highest level of mobile phone use, despite the law that learners and P1 drivers cannot operate phones at all while driving.
LTrent driving school marketing coordinator Calvin Au-Yeung said young people are at risk because they haven’t developed the skills to handle complex traffic situations.
“This is caused by the logbook system. Far too much emphasis is placed on accruing the 120 hours and not on developing skills and experience needed to be a safe solo driver,” he said.
“Correct vision habits are critical to safe driving and any activity that takes our focus away from the task at hand has potentially dangerous consequences.”
Mr Au-Yeung said text-disabling technology will have a positive impact on young drivers and will reduce the amount of crashes on the road. He said a nationwide crackdown was not necessary, but there needed to be better training for all drivers.