Our CORE Group Representative for the Western Pacific Region Mr Joel Tucker, in his professional capacity, works for the Royal Automobile Club Queensland (RACQ) liaises with public relations organizations focusing or road safety issues in Australia. Recently, Joel explored the claim from RACQ members that distracted driving has become a bigger problem than in the last five years because the lack of enforcement to curb the use of mobile phones behind the wheel.
A majority of Queensland (Australia) motorists say police need to do more to enforce road rules with driver distraction at record levels, according to the latest member research by the State’s peak motoring body.
RACQ Senior Road Safety Advisor Joel Tucker said the research showed the use of mobile-phones was one of the biggest causes of driver inattention among the Club’s 1.2 million members.
"Alarmingly, 88 percent of those surveyed said that driver distraction is an even bigger problem now than it was five years ago," Mr Tucker said. "Our research shows more than 90 percent of RACQ members want better law enforcement when it comes to the use hand-held phones while behind the wheel."
Mr Tucker also said that more drivers had reported being distracted while behind the wheel than before.
"The results show that hand-held mobile phones aren’t the only concern for drivers; 31.8 percent of those surveyed said they were distracted by hands-free mobile phones, which was up from 29 percent last year," he said.
"More than 57 percent of members have admitted to being distracted when adjusting stereo settings; 53.1 percent when eating and drinking; and 23.3 percent said they were distracted when entering GPS settings."
Although drivers reported smoking as the least likely distraction behind the wheel, almost 60 percent of those who do smoke admitted it was a cause of inattention – an increase of 32.7 percent.
Mr Tucker said all motorists have a duty to drive safely for themselves and other road users.
"These results show that driver distraction continues to be a real issue on Queensland roads on a daily basis," he said.
"Our members believe a stronger enforcement of the road rules, particularly where hand-held mobile phones are concerned, could help reduce these distractions. We’d also like to see better community education about the impacts of driver distraction resulting from mobile phone use – hands-free or otherwise."
Mr Tucker stressed the need for all motorists to stick to the road rules.
"By taking your attention off the road, you are putting yourself at a greater risk of crashing and injuring not only yourself but others. Allowing you to be distracted by a phone call, email or text message is not only dangerous but illegal. If you have to answer the phone, pull over or wait until you arrive at your destination. It’s just common sense."