By Ellen Morgan
Published: Friday, August 28, 2020
Driver distraction is a factor in nearly half of our road deaths, according to stats from SA Police, but what can we do to reduce this behaviour?
RAA’s new Drive in the Moment website is here to help.
Its aim? To help drivers cut their phone use behind the wheel by increasing awareness and giving users strategies that are tailored to their specific circumstances and motivations.
The online platform incorporates a quiz to assess your knowledge of the risks of mobile phone use while driving, plus a Plan Builder tool to help reduce this distracted behaviour.
It’s all about helping you improve your habits, with research showing people need a personalised approach in order to change their behaviour.
In an increasingly distracting world, we’re often pulled out of the moment by the vibration or all-too-familiar buzz of our mobile phones. In fact, recent research commissioned by the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) found the majority of individuals surveyed admitted to using their mobile behind the wheel.
While most participants surveyed agreed that mobile phone use has a negative impact on driving, results showed people are still using them, and for a variety of reasons.
In fact, 33.7% of drivers admitted to using a hand-held mobile while driving. Alarmingly, 50% of these people used their phones while in moving traffic.
The research found young drivers in Australia are using their phones as an entertainment platform while driving, for music or podcasts. Conversely, older drivers will use texting or calling.
When it comes to social media, the research found usage was not discriminative of age.
“The social media trap seems to capture both younger and experienced drivers, who engage with those apps at similar rates when they grab their phones,” said Charles Mountain, RAA Senior Manager, Safety and Infrastructure.
Regardless of what we use them for, Australians remain distracted by our pocket pals behind the wheel. It’s a habit that needs to change, according to Mr Mountain.
“Experts [consulted in the research] rated holding a phone and looking at the screen for more than 2 seconds while driving as the behaviour most likely to increase the chance of a crash for younger drivers – by almost 4 times,” he said.
“Tragically, police figures in South Australia also show this year we have already lost 24 lives due to distraction.
“You need to be fully concentrated on the task at hand when driving. At 50km/h, just a 2 second glance at your phone means you’ll travel around 28m blind to what’s around you.’’
RAA hopes the Drive in the Moment website will help anyone who wants to change their behaviour on the road.