Victoria may have introduced new mobile phone detection cameras, but many drivers are still risking a fine and a crash by using their devices while driving.
A study commissioned by the Victorian Transport Accident Commission (TAC) found of the 2403 drivers surveyed, 52 per cent still admit to holding and using their mobile phones behind the wheel.
This report comes as the TAC have released its latest social media campaign to discourage the use of mobile phones while driving.
As to what these drivers are doing, 45 per cent of those surveyed admit to using a mobile phone app while driving – that’s more than those who touch their phones to make or receive a call (26 per cent) or send or read a text message (25 per cent).
The report doesn’t say just which apps these drivers are using, whether they’re putting an address into Google Maps or swiping right on Tinder.
The survey found 63 per cent of drivers aged between 18-39 admit to using their mobile phones while driving. Not far behind on 54 per cent are drivers aged 40-60.
Of the 18-39 cohort, 59 per cent claim they use an app behind the wheel.
The survey revealed that out of the 52 per cent of drivers that claim to use their phone while driving, 5 per cent admit to using their mobile phone most of the time, while 25 per cent admit to using it sometimes and 21 per cent claim they rarely use their mobile phones while driving.
More females (54 per cent) than males (50 per cent) admit to using their mobile phones while driving. Almost half of females surveyed also admit to using an app on their mobile phone while driving.
Just under half (46 per cent) of drivers who admitted to interacting with a mobile phone app while driving reside in major cities, while 44 per cent live in “other urban” environments and 44 per cent live rurally.
The survey found the group most likely to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving are men aged 18-39 years old and living in rural areas (87 per cent).
There is one more promising statistic: since 2016 there has been a seven per cent decrease in drivers that use their mobile phones while driving most of the time or sometimes.
The Victorian Government says that within the first three months of the mobile and seat belt safety cameras being in use, cameras recorded 7160 offences which included 2870 drivers who were caught using a mobile phone while driving.
Drivers in Victoria caught using their mobile phone while driving will incur a $577 fine as well as four demerit points.
Currently there are six traffic safety cameras detecting mobile phone use and seat belt detection within Victoria.
According to Mr Andrews, these cameras can be deployed in up to 200 locations throughout Victoria’s rural and metro areas.
“We know that driver distraction is a major contributor to serious and fatal collisions, and the time for complacency is over. These cameras will be deployed all over the state and they will catch those drivers not buckled up or distracted by phones,” said police minister Anthony Carbines.
“Drivers have a responsibility of not just keeping themselves and others in their car safe, but everyone else using the road too. Every life lost on the roads is avoidable – I urge Victorians to do the right thing on the roads.”