After a sweeping review by the country’s overarching road rules authority, simply touching your mobile phone or smartwatch while driving could soon be totally barred
At the moment we’re allowed to touch our phones to make or receive a call, put on music or use GPS while driving, as long as the phone is in a hands-free holder.
However the National Transport Commission wants to toughen up the road rules, warning that using those devices is distracting drivers and putting lives at risk.
The commission said that Australian Road Rules date back to 1999 and haven’t kept pace with modern technology.
Any changes to the road rules would need to accommodate ride-share apps, it said.
An Uber driver told recently that they had been fined for illegally using a mobile phone to accept an Uber trip.
The commission’s director of safety and productivity, Mandi Mees, said the laws would become “technology-neutral”, meaning distracting behaviours would be targeted rather than specific devices.
“We’re not ruling anything out or ruling anything in,” Ms Mees said.
“We’re doing a full scan of the whole ecosystem of devices so that we can develop a logic that is simple and easy for road users to understand.”
Studies have found that drivers who look at their mobile phones while driving are three times more likely to be involved in a crash than those who don’t use their phones.