A new poll in the US has revealed that young drivers are more likely to use mobile phones while driving, and more than 30 percent of them regularly send texts from behind the wheel.
The poll, conducted by US magazine Consumer Reports, says 63 percent of respondents who are under 30 said they had used a handheld phone while driving during the last month.
A further 30 percent admitted sending texts from behind the wheel during the same period.
A survey carried out by Insurer SGIC in Australia last year said that motorists who text from behind the wheel glance at their phones up to 38 times while sending a single message, causing a huge distraction from safe driving.
This means that when a driver is travelling at 60km/h they would have their eyes off the road for 22m at a time – almost five car lengths.
According to the federal parliamentary secretary for infrastructure and transport, Catherine King, there are on average 1500 fatalities on Australian roads each year.
Ministers are now considering tough new laws to ban all mobile phone use in vehicles, following a draft report which found that even hands-free devices dramatically increase the risk of crashing.
While conceding that it would be difficult for people to stop using hands-free phones, a new strategy is being proposed to discourage drivers of heavy vehicles, buses, taxis and government cars from using hands-free phones voluntarily.
An online survey of Victorian drivers found that although most people recognised that using a mobile phone while driving was dangerous, almost 60 percent of people who owned a mobile phone, admitted to using it while driving.
Police in NSW are supporting an all out ban, taking the view that using mobile phones while driving is as dangerous as speed and drink driving.
Meanwhile at CES in Las Vegas this year, Florida-based PhoneGuard launched its Drive Safe Software suite which has been specifically designed to safeguard mobile phone/PDA or smartphone users from being able to text and drive.
Powered by NetQin, PhoneGuard disables texting, emailing and keyboard function of a mobile phone in a vehicle moving faster than 16 kilometres per hour.
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