Media releases

New campaign targets driver distraction to reduce road trauma

Friday, 7th Aug 2020

Driver distraction has contributed to almost half the lives lost and people seriously injured on South Australian roads in the past five years, latest police figures show.

Despite this, a new national survey reveals a third of drivers admitted illegally using their phones in hand-held mode on a regular basis.

RAA has joined with other interstate motoring groups to launch a campaign highlighting the dangers of drivers illegally using mobile phones in an effort to reduce road trauma.

RAA Senior Manager Safety and Infrastructure Charles Mountain said SA police figures show 43 per cent of fatalities and 48 per cent of serious injuries were attributed to distraction between 2015 and 2019.

“Tragically, police figures also show this year we have already lost 24 lives due to distraction,’’ he said.

“Police regularly run operations targeting the illegal use of mobile phones because these devices can be a leading cause of driver distraction with potentially fatal consequences.

“You need to be fully concentrated on the task at hand when driving, but at 50km per hour just a two second glance at your phone means you'll travel around 28 metres blind to what’s around you.’’

Mr Mountain said the national Drive in the Moment campaign featured research commissioned by the Australian Automobile Association, the peak organisation representing Australia's motoring clubs and their eight million members.

This included the alarming revelation 33.7% of Australian drivers surveyed acknowledged using their phones in hand-held mode in a typical week.

Of these drivers, more than 50 per cent said they used their hand-held mobile phone while moving in traffic.

Mr Mountain said mobile phones were allowing us to have more social media and entertainment options.

“There are more temptations to use our phone and more ways to be distracted from the driving task,” he said.

“It’s not just taking a call – it’s checking notifications, using a GPS app, changing a song or watching a video.’’