Mobile phones, technology & driving

Mobile phones

In today’s digital age, mobile phones, smartwatches, and other devices are fast becoming an extension of your arm.

While these devices are improving connectivity between people – allowing people to socialize where they otherwise wouldn’t, using any kind of device while driving has proven to be a distraction which can lead to road disasters of epic proportions.
Not only does it increase your chances of being involved in a crash or near crash, but the simple act of touching a device at the same time as being in control of a vehicle is quite dangerous.

“Learner, P1 and P2 drivers must not use a mobile phone (hand-held or hands-free) for any function while driving (including while stationary but not parked).” – VicRoads

Image Source: Wikipedia

Young drivers – Learners, P1 and P2 drivers are in particular, at the highest risk of being involved in an accident while trying to multitask, The experience they have attained in the short amount of time on the roads is not comparable to say an adult who has been driving for 20 years. That’s not to say experienced drivers aren’t vulnerable to being distracted or incapable of coming into a collision as a result of using a mobile phone or any kind of device.

Using a mobile phone while driving is prohibited, except to make or receive a phone call or to use its audio/music functions provided the phone:

    is secured in a commercially designed holder fixed to the vehicle, or
    can be operated by the driver without touching any part of the phone,  and the phone is not resting on any part of the driver’s body.

Using a phone as a navigational device/GPS while driving is prohibited unless it is secured in a commercially designed holder fixed to the vehicle. All other functions (including video calls, texting and emailing) are prohibited.

All drivers

All drivers face tough penalties for illegal use of a mobile phone or interacting with other units that have visual displays while driving (e.g. DVD players or tablet computers) that are not driver’s aids.

The penalties are 4 demerit points and a $455 fine.

The penalties are 4 demerit points and a $455 fine.It’s a proven fact that using a mobile phone while driving can be distracting. Taking your eyes off the road for just 2 seconds or more doubles your crash risk. Research shows that the behavior  of a manual or visual distraction whilst driving causes crashes and near misses.

Smartwatches

When a Smartwatch is worn by a driver it should not be used while driving for making or receiving phone calls, navigation, music, text or video messaging, email or social media (e.g. Facebook and Twitter).

Text or video messaging, email, social media use or similar communications should not be undertaken regardless of whether the Smartwatch is worn by the driver or not.

Fully licensed drivers may still use a Smartwatch provided it is not worn, and used as a:

    driver’s aid (for example, as a navigation device) OR
    music player OR
    mobile phone to make or receive phone calls;

                AND
The driver does not touch anything on the Smartwatch (for example, making and receiving calls needs to be hands-free via Bluetooth or similar means)
                OR
is secured in a commercially designed mounting affixed to the vehicle (this may be unavailable).

Safe driving tips for mobile phones and other devices
Observe these tips to stay safe on the road:

    Use Road Mode (External link) an android app that prevents you from being distracted by your phone while you drive.
    If your phone has another app or function that prevents distraction while driving, you can also use that.
    Consider putting your phone on silent and out of reach, or turn it off.
    Divert all calls to voicemail.
    Pull over safely and park to make or receive a call.
    Plan breaks in your trip for phone calls.
    Tell your family and friends not to call when you know you’ll be driving.
    If you are using your phone hands-free, warn callers you are driving and may have to end the call.
    Don’t make calls in heavy traffic, poor road conditions or bad weather.
    Never look up phone numbers.
    Never read or send text messages.
    Don’t use Smartwatches or other similar devices.
    Remember, taking your eyes off the road for 2 seconds or more doubles your crash risk.

Information Source: VicRoads

A mobile device can serve as a valuable tool in a case of emergency. If you do find yourself needing to use one, STOP and PARK SAFELY where you will not put your life or other road users at risk.

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