Warnings Against Mobile Phone Use While Driving "Too Extreme" Say AMTA Photo:
Trevor Collett | Dec, 24 2013 | 7 Comments

The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) has reminded drivers that using a mobile phone correctly mounted in a fixed cradle is still legal in Australia.

The call follows a spike in mobile phone penalties in Victoria and a general push from the Victorian Transport Accident Commission (TAC) and others to ditch mobile phone use altogether while driving.

Speaking with Fairfax, AMTA Chief Executive, Chris Althaus, said Victoria is on track for a record-low road toll in 2013 while mobile phone use in the community continues to grow.

"If you look at a graph of the road toll and a graph of the adoption of mobile technology, they are going in opposite directions," Mr Althaus said.

"Thankfully we are driving the road toll down, but we have to be realistic and sensible about how we communicate the message on mobiles. Blanket statements with the best of intentions are unrealistic and generally proven to not work."

Mr Althaus said road safety authorities should be educating drivers on safe and legal ways to use a mobile phone behind the wheel, rather than focusing on punishment.

The penalty for illegal mobile phone use while driving in Victoria recently leapt from $289 and three demerit points to $433 and four points.

VicRoads offers an ‘app’ to drivers, which diverts calls and sends a text message to the caller, saying the phone owner is driving and cannot answer.

New South Wales undertook a different strategy on mobile phone use while driving with its ‘Get Your Hand Off It’ campaign earlier this year.

The campaign used a music video containing common ‘excuses’ for mobile phone use while driving, aimed at young drivers.

The RAC in Western Australia recently unveiled an ‘attention-powered’ car, which could limit engine response and implement an electronically-controlled speed limit depending on the driver’s level of distraction.

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