NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay launched the creatively titled 'Get Your Hand Off It' campaign this week.
Mr Gay said the campaign will employ traditional advertising, including buses and taxis, and a video highlighting the excuses drivers make when using mobile phones while driving.
“Holding your mobile phone to call or text while driving is extremely dangerous, and threatens your safety and that of your passengers, other motorists and pedestrians,” Mr Gay said.
“This behaviour needs to change. ‘Get Your Hand Off It’ provides the community with a cheeky phrase that empowers them to speak out against friends and family who use their phones in a reckless manner behind the wheel.”
Mr Gay said that the video was aimed at 17-33 year-olds and addressed the topic in an unconventional way, referencing some of the common excuses used to justify the behaviour.
“It amazes me that people pick up their phone and take their eyes off the road to make and receive calls, send and check texts and emails or check Facebook and Twitter all while they’re at the wheel of a moving vehicle,” Mr Gay said.
Government figures state that in 2012, there were 42,893 infringements issued to motorists for using a mobile phone while driving.
And while 66 percent of the driving population agree that using a mobile phone while driving is dangerous, 49 percent make calls and 55 percent receive calls while driving.
Telstra, Optus, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone are all supporting the campaign, reminding drivers that it is an offence to use a hand-held mobile phone in NSW while driving that isn’t secured in a cradle or using Bluetooth or voice-activation.
Studies on driver distraction have been conducted in Australia, with the Queensland Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety claiming 22 percent of collisions and near collisions were caused by distraction.
In South Australia however, police data puts that figure as high as 50 percent.
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