Texting while driving is dangerous and breaks the road rules in most modern societies today. Even so, many people still admit to texting. It suggests the urge to do it is quite irresistible. WA recently trialled texting bays where motorists were encouraged to pull over and text.
The WA trial offered five texting bays identified by electronic signs along the Forrest and South Western highways. The texting bay trial finished 28 April 2017. Nobody to date has issued any information about its success or otherwise.
This trial was the first of its kind in Australia. In fact, the mayor of New York introduced 91 designated texting bays to NY highways back in 2013. The state had already noticed a rise in texting-related accidents in the previous few years. With the introduction of smartphones, the problem was getting worse.
Also in 2013, Florida police were encouraging motorists to nominate a “designated texter”, in the same way tighter drink driving laws created the need for a “designated driver”.
Canadian politicians in March 2017 have just voted for a Safe Texting Zones Act. The bill will designate any existing rest stops, commuter parking lots, transit stations, service or other areas as ‘texting zones’.
Meanwhile, Queensland authorities have said they currently have no plans, but are interesting in reviewing the results of the WA texting trial.
The machinery of government moves slowly sometimes, even in the face of increasingly distracted driving. But the answer is not necessarily more penalties, as shown in North America. It makes more sense to recognise motorists will sometimes need to send a text and, rather than punish them for it, help them do it safely.
Just as the Insurance Bureau of Canada was in favour of the Safe Zones Texting Act, it is likely CTP insurers in NSW or other states would support any initiative that encourages safer texting and hence, safer driving. Find the cheapest CTP premium here.