Rising Numbers of Australians Texting While Driving
An increasing number of Australians are sending text messages while driving, with a 12 percent rise over the past year to about 45% of the total, according to a survey by local mobile network, Telstra. The results have prompted Telstra to launch a new national driver safety education program, M8 IT CAN W8, to discourage drivers from the dangerous practice of texting behind the wheel.
Telstra Group Managing Director Kate McKenzie said the campaign's first goal was to encourage at least 50,000 Australians to commit to break their dangerous texting and driving habits by Fatality Free Friday on May 27.
"Despite the dangers, drivers continue to put themselves, their friends, motorists and other road users at risk at an increasing rate," Ms McKenzie said.
The research also found:
- 41 per cent of drivers believe they are too busy to pull over to send texts, while 24 per cent say they send texts when driving out of habit
- 89 per cent said they would be uncomfortable if they were a passenger in a car and the driver was texting while driving
- 91 per cent admitted they were aware it is illegal to text and drive. This has fallen from 96 per cent in January 2010
- 83 per cent 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. Females (88 per cent ) are more affected than males (77 per cent)
The national research was conducted by Pure Profile in March, 2011. The research was conducted online from a sample of 1205 respondents aged 16 years and older.