Mike Stevens | Sep 8, 2009

DESIGNED TO EDUCATE young drivers on the dangers of mobile phone use while driving, VicRoads has launched its own iPhone game.

Called CityGT and developed in partnership with marketing group JWT, the aim of the app is to show young drivers the potential consequences if a driver becomes distracted by talking on their mobile phone while driving.

While playing, the game will automatically make a phone call to the player's iPhone.

If the player takes the call, the car on the screen veers out control and crashes, followed by a message explaining the hazards of using a mobile phone while driving.

If the player ignores the incoming call, they will be able to finish the race, with a message congratulating them on being a safe driver.

Speaking at the game's launch at Melbourne's Federation Square, VicRoads Director of Road User Safety, David Shelton, pointed to the iPhone game as a great way to get a message across to young drivers.

"By using iPhone technologies, we are communicating with our younger drivers through a medium they understand and enjoy. This is an innovative and engaging way for us to help our young people stay safe on our roads," he said.

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Mr Shelton said that research has shown that a driver is four times more likely to crash while talking on a mobile phone, and 22 times more likely if texting.

"While this campaign is targeting all drivers, it has been particularly designed to appeal to a younger driver audience. Younger drivers have grown up with mobile phone technology and have become more reliant on it.

According to a 2008 survey, about 70 per cent of people aged 18-25 years and 26-54 years admitted to illegally using a handheld mobile phone at some time while driving," Mr Shelton said.

CityGT can be downloaded free for the iPhone from the iTunes App Store.

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Victoria's Transport Accident Commission has also taken to the world of video games to get its message through to younger drivers, with an in-game advertising campaign launched in 37 XBOX 360 and PlayStation 3 titles such as Guitar Hero and the upcoming Forza Motorsport 3.

The TAC has signed a one-year contrat with Massive, Microsoft's in-game advertising service, which will see the commission's messages plastered across billboards in the background of XBOX 360 and PS3 games.

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TAC Senior Marketing Manager John Thompson said the medium of video games is emerging as one of the best ways to target road safety messages at young males.

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