Distracted driving essentially involves any activity that takes your attention away from the road. Motor vehicle accidents commonly occur when a driver is distracted.
There are many reasons why a person may be distracted when driving such as:
- texting while driving
- talking on the phone
- talking to passengers
- interacting with child passengers
- changing the radio station
- eating while driving
- using a Satnav while driving
Distracted Driving Statistics
Driving whilst distracted can lead to motor vehicle accidents resulting in injury or death. It is vital when driving that you do not allow yourself to be distracted. Texting and driving has become a particular problem in recent times, especially with younger drivers.
A study carried out by the George Institute and published in the Medical Journal of Australia found that more than 30% of young drivers have written and sent text messages while driving. According to Monash University Accident Research Centre, when texting and driving drivers spend up to 400% more time with their eyes off the road than when not texting while driving.
The Office of Road Safety in Western Australia has found that using a mobile phone while driving increases the risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident by up to 4 times.
Distracted Driving and the law
It is illegal in Australia to use a hand held mobile phone for any function whilst driving, even if your vehicle is stationary but not parked.
A hands-free phone must be secured in a commercially designed holder fixed to the vehicle and it must be operated without the driver touching any part of the phone, including not having the phone resting on any part of the body.
P-plate drivers are not allowed to use any type of mobile phone at all while driving, including hands-free sets. It is also illegal to use other electronic devices with visual displays that are not a driver’s aid (such as DVD players or tablets) while driving if any of the part of the screen is visible to the driver or is likely to distract another driver.
A driver can use a Satnav system only if the system is an integrated part of the vehicle’s design or it is secured in a commercially designed holder which is fixed to the vehicle.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by distracted driving, even if you are the driver at fault, you may be entitled to injury benefits or compensation from the Compulsory Third Party Insurer. Please contact us via the form on this page or by calling us.
If you have been charged with an offence related to the use of a mobile phone or electronic device in your vehicle, our criminal lawyers can provide you with advice.