Set your phone, then leave it alone

A new road safety campaign set to change the behaviour of motorists when it comes to mobile phones.

Last year more than 14,400 Queenslanders were fined for illegally using their mobile phone while driving.

To crackdown on distracted driving, the State Government is pushing to introduce a $1000 on-the-spot fine for those caught on their phones behind the wheel, more than double the current fine of $391.

Those caught a second time for the same offence could lose their licence. 

RACQ will launch a distracted driver campaign with the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC) this month to provide genuine solutions to motorists who feel the need to use their mobile phone while driving.

Queenslanders will be encouraged to ‘Set your phone then leave it alone’ by using the Do Not Disturb While Driving setting on their mobile phone as a reminder that ‘one goodbye could prevent another’.

The campaign will be heavily marketed state-wide this month and will coincide with Queensland Road Safety Week from 26-30 August.

RACQ spokesperson Paul Turner said many Queenslanders were not getting the message about how dangerous it is to use your mobile phone while driving.

“Distraction is one of the deadliest epidemics on our roads and while the penalties may seem harsh, taking your eyes off the road for a few seconds to check social media or read a quick text is enough to cost lives,” Mr Turner said.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) 2018 Driver Behaviour and Attitudes Study revealed 70% of Queenslanders surveyed admitted to using a mobile phone illegally in the car.

“These fines will only work if people think they’re going to be caught so that means more police on the roads, with the tools they need to catch offenders, just like random breath testing and loss of licence were the breakthrough for drink driving offences,” Mr Turner said.

“We’re happy Queensland is leading the way in combating distracted driving, but simply fining people will not work.

“Any revenue raised from these fines should be reinvested into road safety education programs.

“RACQ will continue to work closely with the State Government to deliver strategic education and awareness campaigns to change the way we think about driver distraction.”

In developing the campaign, RACQ sourced behavioural research from Sprout which found mobile phone use was an addiction which was fed by drivers having over confidence on the road, fear of missing out (FOMO), a desire to solve their busy lifestyle or boredom.

According to respondents, the reward of solving these problems outweighed the severe consequences, including causing an accident or death.

 

MAIC Insurance Commissioner Neil Singleton said too often MAIC and Queensland CTP insurers dealt with the consequences of road trauma and the often-avoidable injury to innocent people.

“Claim frequency within the Queensland CTP scheme is on the rise with around 8400 claims per year being lodged,” Mr Singleton said.

“Currently, more than 40% of new claims submitted to the scheme relate to rear-ender crashes. 

“There is evidence from police reports of crashes where the at-fault driver has not braked, which indicates that driver distraction is a key contributor to these crashes.”

Mr Singleton said a key focus of this campaign was to provide Queensland motorists with information and options. 

“If you know that you are going to be tempted to use your phone whilst driving, come up with a plan before you start your car,” Mr Singleton said.

“If you want to play music from your phone, set this up prior to starting your journey. 

“If you are likely to be disturbed by calls or texts, utilise the ‘Do Not Disturb’ function on your phone.

“If you are unsure how to do this the campaign will provide you with the relevant information so that you can make this happen.”

DTMR has opted to support the campaign by marketing similar messaging throughout their own advertisements in September.

“We hope the campaign will be successful as this will translate into fewer crashes and fewer injuries, making Queensland roads safer for all road users,” Mr Singleton said.

RACQ and MAIC aim to remarket the distracted driver campaign during the holiday season in December.

Find out how to use 'Do Not Disturb While Driving' on your iPhone or Android mobile.

How to use 'Do Not Disturb While Driving' on your iPhone

1.   Go to Settings > Do Not Disturb.

Distracted driving step 1

2.    Tap Activate under Do Not Disturb While Driving.

Distracted driving step 2

3.   Tap Automatically. Do Not Disturb While Driving will be activated automatically based on the detection of motion.

Distracted driving step 3