Call for tougher penalties for drivers caught using mobile phones

The Australian Medical Association has called for tougher penalties to be introduced for drivers who use mobile phones while driving, including loss of licence for probationary and learner drivers.

AMA president Dr Michael Gannon said the organisation is committed to promoting road safety, as outlined in their Position Statement on Road Safety 2018.

“Mobile phones and other devices are driver distractions, and a major cause of accidents, trauma, and death,” Dr Gannon said.

“Your driver’s licence is a privilege, not a right. Drivers who breach the road rules are putting themselves and others at risk, and must face meaningful sanctions.”

“The AMA supports measures that change driver behaviour. We want to change the culture and mentality about using mobile devices in cars.”

Bendigo Highway Patrol’s Senior Sergeant Ian Brooks said mobile phone use in the area is “far too prevalent” and it’s becoming more common for people to try and disguise their use of devices while driving.

“Hiding it doesn’t make it better and in fact in probably makes it even more dangerous because your eyes are taken completely off the road,” Senior Sergeant Brooks said.

“My advice to everybody that drives a car, especially those who are inexperienced…you may think you’re the best driver in the world but you don’t want a collision with another car or a tree to prove you wrong.”

“Put your mobile phone on silent and in the glove box because that text message that you miss, could actually save your life.”

“Mobile phone use is a societal problem, it’s a generational problem, it’s killing people.”

According to VicRoads using a mobile phone while driving can lead to riskier decision making, slower reaction times, wandering out of lanes and not being alert of the surroundings.

“The best outcome for people that use their mobile phone while driving is, we will catch you,” Senior Sergeant Brooks said.

The penalty for using a mobile phone in Victoria is four demerit points and a $476 fine.

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