A new Queensland University of Technology study has found parents are setting a poor example when it comes to mobile phone use behind the wheel.
While parents will strongly discourage their children from using a mobile phone while driving, the study found they are unlikely to follow their own advice.
The university’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety Queensland (CARRS-Q) found that young drivers see parents "as hypocrites" when it comes to mobile phone use, and were less likely to take the anti-phone road safety message seriously.
CARRS-Q’s Cassandra Gauld said the use of social media while driving was set to be “the next big distraction facing young drivers”.
"Young drivers perceive their parents as hypocritical when they tell them not to text and drive but do it themselves and that in turn may lead to mixed messages and cloud their beliefs about mobile phone use and driving," Ms Gauld said.
"We know that some young drivers think staying connected to their friends via their mobile phone is more important than safe driving and obeying the road rules and with the growing popularity of smartphones in Australia, staying connected is becoming even easier."
The study has shown drivers between 17-25 years are twice as likely to make a call and four times as likely to send a text compared with drivers over 50.
Young motorists will also use phones in slow moving traffic or if they believe they are skilled drivers but despite this, the study shows they agree that mobile phone use while driving is distracting.
Ms Gauld said previous law enforcement and public education campaigns around drink driving have proven successful, but mobile phone use was a “unique” challenge.
CARRS-Q hopes the study will also lead researchers to a more effective method for communicating the road safety message surrounding mobile phones.
People aged between 17-25 who hold a driver’s licence and reside in Queensland can take part in the study via a survey (website opens in new window).
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