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Each year, about 1.3 million people are killed in road accidents worldwide. Take that in for a moment. That’s the entire population of Adelaide wiped out every year, or more than 3,500 lives lost daily.

Whichever you look at it, that is a huge number of deaths, and the vast majority of these are a result of preventative human errors and distractions.

Mobile phone detection cameras are starting to become the new normal in most regions following New South Wales leadership in becoming the first jurisdiction globally to issue fines using the technology in March 2020.

Drivers in Victoria and Queensland may have already noticed the cameras in action (admittedly Queensland is only sending out warning notices before enforcing fines from November 1), with South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT expected to complete their rollout by the end of 2022.

At this stage Western Australia and the Northern Territory have not made any commitment to utilise the detection cameras but you can imagine it will only be a matter of time.

Leading surgeon Dr John Crozier, of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons national trauma, believes the penalties in place simply aren’t adequate to deter offenders.

“(Driver distraction) is a very significant element of many of the crashes that occur, especially in metropolitan Australia,” Dr Crozier said.

“It is very under-reported and that makes it difficult to appreciate the full scale of how significant it is.”

Executive Officer of the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) Joe Calafiore believes it is important that the broader community continued to have the conversation about general mobile phone usage and addictions, particularly when behind the wheel.

“With the average Australian checking their phone more than 150 times a day, people are putting their lives and the lives of others at risk, sometimes without even realising,” he said.

“Using a mobile phone when driving is extremely dangerous because it means you’re taking your eyes off the road.”

7 terrifying mobile phone statistics

  1. People who text while driving are six times more likely to get in an accident than those that are intoxicated.
  2. 64% of all vehicle accidents in the United States each year are caused by mobile phone usage behind the wheel—that’s 1.6 million accidents.
  3. The chances of any type of crash are increased by 23 times when you are texting.
  4. Glancing at a phone for just two seconds while driving at 50 km/h means travelling blind for 30 metres.
  5. Of all the teenagers ever involved in fatal accidents every year, 21% were using a mobile phone at the time of the accident.
  6. Reading a text message while driving successfully distracts a driver for a minimum of five seconds each time.
  7. When polled, 77% of adults and 55% of teenage drivers believe that they can easily manage texting while driving.

Legal penalties across Australia

Note: Penalties listed are subject to change.

State/Territory Fine Demerit points
Queensland $1,033 4
New South Wales $349 5
Victoria $496 4
Western Australia $1,000 4
South Australia $544 3
Tasmania $344 3
Northern Territory $500 3
Australian Capital Territory $511 3

For further details on mobile phone rules for your state and territory, click on the links below: