Despite making texting while driving illegal, 12% more people are doing it down under compared to 2010

Banging out a 160 character text message to your mate, asking him if you should pick up anything on your way to the party, is stupid. Most people know this, but they do it anyway. Laws have been setup to deter people from using their mobile phones while behind the wheel of a car, but they persist. In Australia the number of people who admitted texting while driving has gone up by 12%; nearly 45% of the population now texts. The reasons why they keep on fiddling with their metal and plastic bricks are both funny and scary at the same time: 41% of drivers believe they are too busy to pull over to send texts, and 24% say they send texts when driving out of habit. Yet ask people what they think about texting drivers and 89% said they would be uncomfortable if they were a passenger in a car and the driver was texting.

Oddly enough only 91% of drivers admitted to knowing that texting while driving was illegal. We say odd because that number was 96% in January 2010. Is pollution destroying the ozone layer and frying the brains of the people who live in the southern hemisphere? At least the numbers looks good if you know someone who has been in an accident because they took a call or replied to an SMS: 83% said they would think twice about texting and driving if a friend or family member was involved in an accident caused by texting while driving. Break it down by sex and of course it’s the women who are more careful drivers, 88% of them are affected by a friend or family member who was in an accident, compared to 77% of males.

At the end of the day just don’t be stupid. Commutes aren’t that long and if you really need to talk then just pull over. It’s difficult on a highway, but if you’re on back roads then there really is no excuse.

[Watch this video to get the living bejesus scared out of you]

  • I think legislation has value in raising public awareness in forums like this one but it will be difficult to solely legislate our way out of this issue. I just read that 72% of teens text daily – many text more 4000 times a month. New college students no longer have email addresses! They use texting and Facebook – even with their professors. This text and drive issue is in its infancy and its not going away.

    I decided to do something about distracted driving after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver. Instead of a shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user (especially teens) I built a tool called OTTER that is a simple GPS based, texting auto reply app for smartphones. It also silences call ringtones while driving unless you have a bluetooth enabled. I think if we can empower the individual then change will come to our highways now and not just our laws.

    Erik Wood, owner
    OTTER app

Back to top ▴