Tuesday, 07 April 2009 06:55

Telstra survey shows 15% of parents use phones while driving

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Just a few days before Easter, the long weekend and many families hitting the road for a holiday, a new Telstra survey has uncovered the shocking statistic that far too many people are still using their phones while driving – and while the kids are in the car.

Making no mention of hands-free wired and wireless headsets to make phone calls while driving, thus seemingly attributing all calls made while driving as “bad”, a new Telstra survey has shown that 15% of parents have admitted to using their phones while driving.

This includes both phone calls and text messaging, activities that can seriously take one’s attention off the road and potentially ram that attention into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

I guess that would potentially “solve” the problem of creating high phone bills on a “permanent” basis – not that Telstra made any mention of that.

Telstra refers to research which “shows that using a mobile phone while driving increases crash risk by at least four times.  Typically ‘run-off-the-road’ crashes and ‘rear end’ crashes are the most common types of crashes associated with mobile phone usage”, with this research coming from the SA Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure.

Because of this danger, Telstra’s Executive Director of the Consumer division, Ms Jenny Young, said “the high number of families expected on the roads this Easter meant the driving and mobile phone safety reminders were extremely important at this time of year.”
 
Ms Young continued: “Our message to motorists this Easter is simple and important - make safety your most important call and don't use a handheld mobile phone instead of concentrating on the road.”
 
Telstra’s survey of 1000 respondents across Australia was conducted by PureProfile from the 31st of March to the 3rd of April 2009, and found that “despite increased penalties only half of respondents are worried about being fined for driving while using a handheld mobile phone.”

Continued on page 2, please read on.
 

Ms Young added that: “You wouldn’t read the paper while driving, so why would you drive while talking or texting on your handheld mobile? Not only is it illegal, it’s also extremely dangerous.”
 
Telstra is also taking the opportunity to “remind people about the importance of storing an ICE (In Case of Emergency) phone number in their mobile phones”, with Ms Young saying that: “These numbers can help emergency services get important information, fast, in case of an accident.”

Telstra provides these “safe driving tips for using a mobile phone”:

- Never read or send text messages while driving

- To make a call, check MessageBank or read Voice to Text pull over and park safely.

- Plan breaks in your trip to stop and make phone calls.

- Tell your family and friends not to call when you know you’ll be driving.

- Update your ICE (In Case of Emergency) contacts in your mobile phone.


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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