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Call to double driver phone penalties

Call to double driver phone penalties roundabouts distracted
Distracted drivers are one of our most hated motorists

Penalties for drivers using handheld mobile phones should be doubled to six demerit points, according to the Motorcycle Council of NSW.

The MCCNSW has released a mobile phones position statement which calls for a review of the penalties for drivers using mobile phones as well as an awareness campaign about distracted driving.

It calls for an increase in the penalty demerit points for a first offence from three to six, with loss of licence for a period of six to 12 months for a second offence.

MCCNSW treasurer Steve Pearce says the penalties should be for all motorists, including motorcyclists who illegally use a mobile phone.

Read more about illegal mobile phone use by riders here.Vietnam - double mobile phone penalties

The statement says distracted drivers are the “biggest threat to motorcyclists’ safety and even minor crashes can have serious consequences for riders”.

An Australian survey indicated that 98% of people believe that using a mobile phone while driving, is very dangerous and yet 28% of people admit to doing it, the statement says.

The Roads and Maritime Services website cites recent research that suggests at least 14% of all crashes involve the driver being distracted by something inside or outside the vehicle and as many as one in 10 fatalities is directly attributed to driver distraction. 

In the US, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) in 2006 reported that nearly 80% of crashes and 65% of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the event. 

The primary causes of driver inattention in major study included such distracting activities as cell (mobile) phone use.

The current law in every state is that mobile phones may be used to make or answer a call, play music or as a GPS, as long as the phone is in a cradle fixed to the vehicle, doesn’t obscure the view of the road and can be operated without touching any part of the phone.

Texting, using social media, emailing, taking photos or holding the phone within a vehicle is banned.Call to double driver phone penalties

Steve says the MCCNSW did not have an official position on mobile phone use and the statement is one of several coming that will address important rider issues.

He says they are also calling for a public awareness campaign of the dangers of distracted driving.

“Making drivers aware of the danger of mobile phone use while driving should be given top priority in current road safety media campaigns and L and P plate course syllabus,” Steve says.

“There are a number of ways to reduce the risk of mobile phone distraction in cars and trucks.

“We plan to encourage the NSW Government to review the current penalties for mobile phone use.

“MCCNSW would like mobile phone use to be treated as a high-risk, high-penalty offence and make it illegal to mount any device such as a phone or GPS where it blocks the driver’s half of the windscreen.”

MCCNSW proposes the following to address mobile phone use in vehicles:

  • Review the penalties for mobile phone use and increase the first penalty to 6 points, with loss of licence for the second instance;
  • An on-going media campaign which highlights the risks posed by mobile phone use while driving;
  • Review the licensing process to ensure new drivers and renewing drivers are notified of the risks of mobile phone use while driving;
  • Increased research into the use of mobile phones while driving;
  • Improved driver education that highlights the risks of mobile phone use while driving;
  • Encourage vehicle design which addresses in-vehicle distractions;
  • Restrictions on the mounting of phones and GPS where they block the drivers view of their half of the windscreen.
  1. Personally I believe and think they should go even further and cancel their licence as they do for drink driving plus double the fines as well.

  2. This article is incorrect, it is already 4 points, so to double it would be 8 in NSW.

  3. Travelling around the Sunshine Coast as well as on the Bruce Hwy to Brisbane, it is scary the amount of people I see texting or talking on their phones – including heavy vehicles!
    I’m on a Spyder – which is fairly conspicuous and I’ve had far too many close shaves with idiots changing lanes and/or merging while on their damn phones!
    I don’t see why Police shouldn’t be given much more funding for increased motorcycle patrols to catch these galahs – then take their bloody phones off them!

  4. 3 points, 6 points, NO!!
    On the spot suspension 24 to 48 hours, maybe even a week. Like a drink driver you will be walking the rest of the way. Maybe even an immobilizer for phone if such technology excists.

      1. A person on roller skates (he was also wearing a tutu!) was booked for drink driving on New Year’s Eve some years ago. Last thing we need is more rules.

  5. How about giving the police the right to on the spot smash the mobile phone, that’ll make users think twice as most of them must use the latest and greatest phone and at about $800.00 I’m sure they’d learn their lesson damn fast.

  6. I agree with all above, increase the penalties and maybe make them instant. The telcos need to be doing a bit more too, I know at traffic lights its not possible but surely phones can be fitted to not work when the are travelling above walking speed. ie use the satellite technology and gps that picks up the phone is in a vehicle travelling x kph then it makes the phone mute all services.

    1. What about if I’m on a Greyhound, or the passenger in a car? …I might want to make a call or send a text.
      So… no… allowing a Telco to mess with my phone any more than they currently do is a recipe for disaster.
      However, I totally agree that Police should have sieze powers (and fines should be at least doubled). Then these people who are addicted to their phones instead of keeping their eyes on the road can pick up their siezed phone from the Police Station after a week.

      1. I doubt such scramble is needed in a bus, and your inability to make a call as a passenger, it does not trump the safety of the driver and other road users, and i will not appologise for such inconvenience. Before mobile phone we managed just fine .

  7. Do over 30,000 km/year on a bike, some clown tries to wipe me out about once a week but never had a phone user cause me a problem.
    Biggest probs are

    1. Radars hiding in the bushes.
    Everyone spends most of their driving time speedo gazing instead of looking at the road.

    2. Travelling too close.
    Should always leave enough space in front of you so another car can comfortably fit in.
    & that’s exactly why nobody does it, especially on motorways, because they try to ensure that another vehicle can’t fit in
    so you just force your way in anyway.

    3. Curved rearview mirrors – cause of many motorway accidents, especially involving merging traffic.
    When you almost run into a car because it changed lanes right in front of you, that’s because their curved side rearview mirror made you look further away than you actually were.

    4. Obsession with Speed.
    Because of the irrational obsession with speed by police, media, associated bedwetters & control freaks
    people are convinced that as long as they’re not above the speed limit
    or using a phone
    everything & anything they do is 100% safe.

    Staring at speedo instead of road, changing CDs, arguing with kids, pulling out in front of motorcycles, not merging properly with motorway traffic, blocking the right lane & holding up everyone
    (why is the left lane usually the fastest one nowdays?)
    it’s all OK as long as you’re not on the phone & not above the speed limit.

    Too much bullshit road safety propaganda.

  8. 6 points, $1000 fine, and off the road for a month, immediately.
    Should get the attention of some of these camels.
    Grrrrrrrr >:-[

    I’ve looked into the idea of disabling a moving mobile phone, and it’s not a simple thing to do (and believe me – I wanted it to be that simple!!!)

    As the phone moves between base stations, it simply locks on to the best signal available; it may not be from the closest tower either, depending on geography, tall buildings reflecting the signal – stuff like that. The ‘network’ can tell that the phone has moved from one area to another, but that’s it. Smartphones can only be tracked using their GPS function. Bugger. >:-[

    So we’re stuck with people having to be caught in the act.

    After two recent incidents, I’ll be using my helmet cam from now on to record the pricks and send the clips to the QPS.

  9. Reading these comments here. I’ve got a better solution. Remove all phones from everyone, remove all civil rights from the public, barricade everyone in their houses, and then no one will ever die from being hit by a phone user. That way we can all die from starvation. Now if only all our problems can be solved this easily! How perfect life would be.

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