Targeting texting drivers a must to reduce road toll: RACQ

The State’s peak motoring body has pleaded with Queensland motorists to put their phones away, as new data revealed road deaths would climb in the years to come as a result of driver distraction.

The calls came as a new report from the Federal Department of Infrastructure Regional Development and Cities showed almost 290 Queenslanders would die in road crashes each year by 2030 – a jump from 247 in 2017 – if nothing was done to stop distracted drivers.

It followed the release of research, by the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland, which found most drivers did not think texting while driving was dangerous.

RACQ spokesperson Renee Smith said at least one in four crashes occurred as the result of distracted driving, and often placed all road users in harm’s way.

“When you touch your phone – be it to text, check social media, play music – you’re holding the lives of yourself and others in your hand,” Ms Smith said.

“We need everyone to recognise distraction can not only lead to crashes with other vehicles, it does contribute to collisions with many other vulnerable road uses, like cyclists and pedestrians.

“Distractions can steal moments, and a moment is all it takes for a life to be lost on the road.”

On 1 July, the New South Wales Government began operating new camera technology, which detected drivers who illegally used their mobile phones.

Ms Smith said RACQ was supportive of efforts to explore new technologies, but in the meantime, a greater road policing presence was needed.

“We want to see police boost their physical presence to curb this behaviour,” she said.

“We know that people change their behavior if they know there’s an increased chance they’ll be caught.

“If the police want to look at new technologies to help them do that, we’re supportive.”

Click here, for more information about mobile phone use in motor vehicles.