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Got the message?

26 November 2013
Got the message?

Let's face it, driving is complex and challenging enough without adding a mobile phone in the picture. That’s why our road rules are changing to help combat the growing problem of distraction, which has the potential to result in deaths and injuries on our roads.

The changes to mobile phone rules for P-platers and penalties for illegally using a phone while driving are now in effect. The total ban on mobile phone use has been extended from P1 drivers on red P-plates, to P2 drivers on green P-plates.

Young drivers are the most vulnerable road users and we know they face extra challenges because they have grown up with mobile phones, so to take away the temptation to use them while driving, we are introducing stricter laws. It’s a scary statistic that 88 per cent of young drivers using mobile phones report reading text messages and 77 per cent report sending text messages.

Seventy per cent of young and middle-aged drivers report using a mobile phone some of the time while driving. Sixty per cent of middle-aged drivers report reading texts and 51 per cent report sending them.

P2 drivers, who are those in the second, third and fourth years of having their licence, will no longer be allowed to use a mobile phone while driving - this includes using a hands-free device while driving or stationary at traffic lights.

These tough, new penalties mean that probationary drivers, with a demerit point threshold of just five points, are at serious risk of losing their licence if they are caught illegally using a mobile phone because they will have incurred four points.

Any driver caught using a mobile phone illegally risks accruing one-third of the 12 demerit point threshold for a single, stupid act.

To help drivers avoid the temptation to use their mobile phone, VicRoads has developed "Road Mode" a free app which, when activated, silences incoming calls and text messages and lets the sender/caller know the driver is driving.

The increased mobile phone penalties and changes to the rules for probationary drivers is one of the key initiatives in Victoria's Road Safety Strategy (2013-2022) and Victoria's Road Safety Action Plan (2013-2016), announced in March 2013.

For more information visit www.gotthemessage.vic.gov.au

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