Dr Anthony Lynham


It’s time to deal with mobile phone distraction on our roads

Driver distraction through mobile phone use

4 July, 2019 –

Looking at your phone while driving or sending a quick text behind the wheel is sadly something the majority of drivers will own up to having done.

Crashes caused by people on their phones is one of the ‘Fatal Five’ – one of the top five causes of fatal road crashes.

Research shows distracted driving is as dangerous as drunk driving: in 2017 alone, 38 people were killed, and 1,224 people hospitalised by distracted drivers on Queensland’s roads.

We’ve seen a major cultural shift in our attitude to drunk driving and we need to have that conversation now about our obsession with screen time while driving.

Over the past few months, the State Government has led the conversation with vehicle manufacturers, technology companies, insurers, telecommunications companies, academics, legal professionals and other stakeholders to discuss solutions to distracted driving.

The State Government has also recently hosted a Driver Distraction National Summit in Brisbane to develop a roadmap for combating driver distraction that can be pushed onto the national road safety agenda.

The way forward will be a combination of better driver education, innovative tools that block the use of mobile devices by drivers, and tougher penalties to get the message through.

Under proposed new penalties, using a mobile phone while driving could cost you up to $1,000 and a loss of licence for a second offence.

Time is overdue for us to get this right. All our lives depend on it.