People use their phones while driving

not thinking

Crazy as it may seem, people are still using their mobile phones illegally while driving. As the documentary made for Victoria’s Transport Accident Commission says, It’s People Like Us. In this case it was five young people but, in fact, NSW police say older drivers are using their phones even more.

It’s People Like Us

The documentary films five young people in their cars over 10 days. Each one said they didn’t have a problem. It becomes clear in the film they are not even aware of what they do while driving. All of them repeatedly look down, text, and even take selfies while driving. One has a baby in the back.

Older people text too

You may think young drivers are much more likely than older drivers to text while driving, but that is also misunderstood.

In 2016, police fined 900 P-platers and 38,000 fully licensed drivers. While P-platers are 8% of all drivers, they made up only 2.4% of mobile phone offences in that year. Perhaps this is because they stand to lose their hard-won licences straightaway.

Whatever your age or experience, looking down to text takes 2 seconds. In that time, you can travel 30 metres at 60kmh and this increases your risk of crashing by 23 times.

Heavy penalties

Penalties for illegal use of mobiles while driving are heavy. During 2016-17, 40,606 drivers paid penalties worth a whopping $13.3 million.

Meanwhile, demerits and fines for using mobiles while driving are even higher in school zones than in other places:

  • 6 demerit points and $433 in school zone
  • 4 demerit points and $325 otherwise.

Naturally, mobile phones are here to stay. But it’s hard to imagine why anybody wants to take these kinds of risks – to themselves or their wallets. It will affect their CTP insurance too.

Corrina Baird

Writer and expert

Corrina used to lend her car to her kids and discovered first hand what Ls, Ps and demerits mean for greenslips. After 20 years of writing and research in financial services, she’s an expert in the NSW CTP scheme. Read more about Corrina

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