Snapchat driving danger

Set your phone, then leave it alone.

Queensland motorists are being asked to ‘Set your phone, then leave it alone’ after a new study revealed one in six young drivers had used Snapchat behind the wheel.

The research conducted by Queensland University of Technology’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety-Queensland (CARRS-Q) surveyed 503 drivers aged 17-25.

Of those surveyed, 16% admitted to using Snapchat when driving primarily to reply to other users’ messages.

A further 15% confessed to having used their phone to send a video or photo while in control of a vehicle.

CARRS-Q researcher Verity Truelove said users’ primary motivation was to share something they had seen while driving.

“The vast majority of these app users (71%) said they most commonly used it (Snapchat) while stopped at a red light,” Ms Truelove said.

“Alarmingly, 3% said they most commonly used It while driving at any speed.”

Snapchat has more than six million users across Australia, with the app regarded as the most popular social platform for under 25’s.

The survey also found most young drivers did not see the threat of being caught by police using their phone as much of a deterrent.

“Most believed the restriction on hand-held phone use was difficult to enforce,” Ms Truelove said.

Ms Truelove said respondents’ attitudes changed when they were informed of mobile phone detection camera technology that was currently being used in New South Wales.

“The drivers we talked to saw this as a strong deterrent, knowing these types of cameras were out there,” she said.

“If people think there is a high chance they will be caught, they are more likely not to break the law.

“For some drivers though, safety concerns regarding being harmed or harming others were the biggest deterrents.”                                   

RACQ has partnered with the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC) on a state-wide driver distraction campaign to help change driver behaviour around mobile phone use.

The ‘Set your phone, then leave it alone’ campaign sought to reduce the road toll and the use of illegal phone use in Queensland, after more than 14,400 Queenslanders were fined for illegally using their mobile phone while driving in 2018.

“Distraction is one of the deadliest epidemics on our roads,” RACQ spokesperson Paul Turner said.

“Taking your eyes off the road for a few seconds to check social media or read a quick text is enough to cost lives.

“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.”

For a step by step guide on how to set your phone to do not disturb, watch the video below.