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Getting a driver’s licence is an exciting time for young drivers – full with feelings of freedom and independence.

With this process, though, comes the responsibility of properly and effectively educating young people on the dangers associated with driving to ensure they are the safest drivers they can possibly be. This is especially the case during their learner and probationary periods.

Statistically, young drivers aged between 18 and 25 years make up close to a quarter of all driver deaths, despite accounting for just over 10 percent of all licence holders.

Distracted driving has always been a big killer on Australian roads. Now with the rise of technology such as mp3 players and smart phones, more deadly distractions exist than ever.

Distracted driving can come in two forms:

  • Physical – Mobile phones, eating, drinking, smoking, entertainment devices
  • Cognitive – Engaging in conversation, dealing with intolerable passengers

Today’s world is ‘tech saturated’, with distractions at every turn. The need to further educate our community about the dangers of cell phone use and other distractions while driving has never been greater.

Unfortunately in a recent survey conducted by Aussie-Driver, not one respondent aged between 18-24 rated being distracted (mobile phone use, eating, smoking) as one of the most dangerous things to do while driving.

It also seems parents aren’t setting a good example regarding risky driving behaviour. When asked ‘What is the most dangerous thing you see your parents do while driving?’ a quarter of survey respondents aged 18-24 said ‘Using a cellphone’.

Research suggests that parents play a huge role in a new driver’s safety.

Parental role modelling has also been identified as being important in developing safe behaviours among young people.

Aussie-Driver believes that once people see the statistics and realise the danger involved, they will change their driving habits to protect themselves, their families, and others on the road.

In an effort to curb the devastating distracted driving trend, Aussie-Driver has created a ‘Stop Distracted Driving’ pledge and is calling on Australian families to show their support by signing up.

The pledge and other great resources for new drivers can be downloaded from the Aussie-Driver website.

Texting driver image from Shutterstock
  • That is a very scary statistic hope that reduces soon.

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  • Mobile phones are so dangerous. I see it on the highway all the time. Watch next time you are driving in a 3 laned road. If you see a car drifting on the road 95% of the time they are on the phone!

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  • This is so terrible. =(

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  • Sadly; have seen a lot of texting during the holidays!

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  • I see people texting all the time while driving cars; I just don’t get it! What is so important? It is so dangerous! It seems to be across the ages too. The penalties need to be tougher as education campaigns do not seem to be working. I know someone who was fined $250! She knew it was stupid to answer the phone; but still did! She was caught by an officer in an unmarked police car. Needless to say; she has not repeated the offence and is somewhat poorer!

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  • I don’t understand why cars are not built with a block to stop mobile devices working when the car is in motion. If the phone won’t work, then they won’t be looking at it.

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  • We still see plenty of people of all ages driving around talking on mobile phones, they think because they live out in the country the law doesn’t apply to them.

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  • I wish people would not use phones when driving. it is so selfish and completely unavoidable. there is no excuse.

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  • Such an important article for all to read, driver distraction may only be a minute but it can have fatal or lasting consequences.

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  • On the SE Freeway in SA heading towards to Adelaide part of it has new speed limits, both for cars and trucks. On that section car drivers (young and older) are often as silly as the truck drivers. Rather than ride the brakes in cars and them over-heat you need to use a lower gear or low setting on an automatic, letting your motor slow you down. I have friends who are truck drivers who use the Freeway frequently. They have told me that they actually start slowing down by going into lower gears to slow down rather than their brakes before they get to the huge signs and sometimes don’t need to use them until they reach the traffic lights at the bottom if there is no or very little traffic around. Those who use their brakes excessively are the ones that have problems with their brakes overheating. A lot of the trucks will not use the emergency arrester (gravel) ramps because it literally bogs them in the gravel.
    One driver I know had his motor blow up heading towards Adelaide. As it wasn’t on the deep descent section he was able to slow it down sufficiently initially just using the low gears then the brakes, Had he not been able to stop before the 1st ramp he was going to use it – no hesitation. When he contacted a heavy vehicle towing company he was informed that if he was in the arrester bed the Police would fine him. He didn’t have brake failure at all so he doesn’t know whether he would have been fined or not. Going into the gravel does cause some vehicle damage but as the driver said lives are more important, not vehicle repairs.
    One of the problems truck drivers have is cars passing and moving across in front of them far too close, meaning they have to brake hard to miss them and it takes longer for a truck to adjust to the mininum distance behind the vehicle in front. Yes! they agree there are some “cowboys” amongst them that give the transport industry a bad reputation. Some truckies will be the first to acknowledge that. Another issue they have is other vehicles trying to pass them when they are turning. Why do people think trucks have a sign on the back of them “do not overtake when turning” I personally have seen one accident as a result of a car doing that, trying to speed past a truck as it was already turning, the car having just come out of a side road in an area surrounded by scrub land. Fortunately nobody was injured as the truck driver stopped as soon as he heard the metal noise.


    • Car motorists are now complaining that they are getting fines. The new law came into effect on Mon 1st Sept. It has widely advertised on TV, Radio for a few weeks, especially last week.
      The Media was “flooded” with it last week.
      Trucks have been given a few days of grace to work out exactly the time to change gears to slow to lower speed as their limit has dropped a lot. Apparently some Transport Companies have researched how long it should take on various sections of country roads and top speed this can be achieved at but have been advised to go slower than that, that in some cases it isn’t safe to go at such high speed anyway.
      Many businesses (not just transport) tell their employees that if they get speeding fines in company vehicles they personally will be paying their fines, not the company, that they are paid to drive safely and within the laws. If using a “pool” car they usually have to fill in a record book with going out time and sign and sign again when the return and hand the keys in.

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  • Mobile phone and other device usage is fraught with danger and the younger population aren’t the only ones doing this

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  • Im not sure about the parental role modelling…Im a very calm driver but my eldest daughter isnt. She always remarks on how calm i am and she cant understand why or how i remain so calm when confronted with idiot drivers…lol

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  • i think if anyone is caught texting or not using handsfree should be given a hefty fine plus also taken to an accident sight so they can see the reality of what happens when you use your phone whilst driving

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  • I think its sad that so many think it wont happen to me, great tips for all not just the young

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  • My daughter has just got her learners. She doesn’t have a phone but for years I have told her don’t text or talk when driving. Amazing how many people you see driving and on their phone, even more amazing is most are over 25.

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