Shocking new research has found that the majority of Australian drivers don’t think it’s dangerous to send a text whilst driving.
The findings revealed that most Aussies do not believe they are putting themselves at risk by using their mobile phones when they are behind the wheel of a car, with women said to be more likely to offend than men.
The research also revealed that drivers who have held their licences for a higher number of years are less likely to use their phones than novice drivers with less experience.
More than 440 people, aged between 16 and 70, took part in the study which was conducted by The Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety, Queensland. Participants were given a range of driving scenarios and asked to respond to a series of potential risks.
Australian Road Safety Foundation Chief Executive Russell White described the findings as “very scary” during an interview with 2GB on Thursday and said the results demonstrate how much work is still left to be done in improving awareness of the dangers of distracted driving.
“How the majority of people seem to think that it’s not a problem is a really alarming finding.
The research also revealed that the ‘fear of missing out’ – or FOMO – is a bigger concern for motorists than the potential to cause a fatal accident, or injure themselves or others.
White added: “In many many cases, people are dealing with what is essentially an addiction… some people physically get to a stage where they can’t help themselves.
“We’ve been so conditioned to respond instantly. The moment we hear that ping, the moment we sense that vibration. The ramifications of taking your eyes off the road can have fatal consequences.”
The Centre for Accident Research and Safety is calling on the Queensland Government to introduce more aggressive advertising campaigns targeting drivers, similar to previous drink driving campaign. They are also calling on new laws to be introduced for people to completely lose their licence if they are caught on their mobile phone.