Driven to distraction by mobile phones

20 March 2012

Staying connected while driving can be wheely distracting
With 24 per cent of South Australian drivers using their mobile phone while at the wheel, SGIC is calling for drivers to focus on the road to avoid being at higher risk of a collision*.

New SGIC research shows drivers are continuing to take risks by using their mobile phone while driving, with:

  • 83 per cent making phone calls;
  • 73 per cent texting and reading emails;
  • 32 per cent using applications – e.g. checking the weather forecast, news headlines;
  • 36 per cent taking photos; and
  • 18 per cent updating their status or tweeting.

SGIC spokesperson Adele Buhagiar said the results were concerning, as they showed drivers were still putting themselves at increased risk of a collision, despite the safety warnings.

"The research shows that our appetite for technology extends to while we are driving, with one in six admitting that they are updating their status or tweeting while at the wheel. This is up from one in ten last year.

"We were surprised to see that people are even risking taking photos while driving. Losing focus while behind the wheel, even if it is only for a split second, may cause the worst to happen," said Ms Buhagiar.

It is illegal to drive a vehicle while using a hand-held mobile phone in SA, with the penalty a significant fine and three demerit points**.

Ms Buhagiar added we urge all SA drivers to be alert on the roads and if you need to make a call or send a message, we suggest you pull over in a safe place before using the phone.

* Based on a survey of 100 SA drivers by Pure Profile Research in January 2012
** www.police.sa.gov.au