'Just as dangerous as drink driving': Get off your phone
IN AN effort to reduce the number of lives lost due to Queensland's deadly mobile phone addiction, RACQ has launched its biggest ever advocacy campaign and one of our local driving instructors is on board.
RACQ spokesperson Paul Turner said driver distraction due to mobile phone use was an insidious scourge that killed or severely injured people on Queensland roads every day.
"Distracted driving is just as dangerous as drink driving, and it is much more prevalent on our roads in 2019," Mr Turner said.
"You're four times more likely to have a crash if driving and using your phone - people know the statistics and now we're giving them the solution they need so they don't become one.
"RACQ is asking drivers to set their phone with Bluetooth, maps and music, then switch on their do not disturb while driving function before they hit the road. It should become as familiar as putting on your seatbelt."
Andrew Cross, from South Burnett's Andrew's Driving Class, said he supported this campaign and was well aware of the dangerous consequences of using a mobile phone while behind the wheel.
Mr Cross, who has over 10 years of experience, said he has never experienced any problems with his younger South Burnett students using their phones while driving.
"From my experience it seems to be more the older generations," he said.
"You see these kids have grown up with the same laws, don't use your phone, especially while they're a P plater and can't even use hands free technology.
"Then we have generations who grew up when these laws weren't in place and, we all know people can struggle to adapt to a change in laws."
Mr Cross said it was once even a social trend to use the phone in your car.
"Back in the 80's maybe a lot of cars had phones in them," he said.
"It was considered some-what cool to make a call while out for a drive.
"Then as mobile phones were introduced it became normalised to make a call or answer a call while driving. It's hard to change these behavioural patterns."
Mr Cross said he has never heard of a student touching their phone during a lesson or driving test.
"You would fail right away," he said.
"So I think that's a part of it. The younger generation have been brought up and only told one thing. Not to use their phones while driving.
"I think that message has gotten across pretty well."
As a driving instructor, Mr Cross said his advice to South Burnett drivers who find themselves checking or using their phones while behind the wheel is to make sure they have set up their hands free well before taking off.
"It's as simple as using your hands free," he said.
"Take the time while parked to connect your phone. Pick your music, get your maps sorted, whatever it is you need to do. Then you can put the car into drive.
"And if you really struggle with technology get someone to help you set up your hands free."