Mark Sainsbury: Time to get tough on drivers using mobile phones

Woman in the car and holding black mobile phone with map gps navigation, toned at sunset.

OPINION: There was an anniversary five days ago, an anniversary we missed but is still very relevant. It’s the anniversary of the implementation of Road User Rule 7.3a.  Have a guess what it is and  have a guess how often you flout it. Road User Rule 7.3a is the ban on the use of mobile phones while driving.

November 1st 2009 it came into force, more than eight years ago.  Ask yourself - and answer honestly - have you broken that law? 

It's that impulse to answer a call when the phone’s on the seat or worse,  the almost irresistible urge to check a text when it pings while you’re driving. 

No that’s not the worst, it’s the attempt to reply to a text while driving. I really love that ad they are playing at the moment where the phone goes and the driver reaches out for it only to find the passenger's hand lying in wait. 

It’s a great reminder it’s down to the passengers as well to remind drivers of their responsibilities. But how would your mates or family react if you had a go at them for using the phone while driving?  Would you want them doing it with your kids in the car? I would presume not so why should it be any different if its adults put at risk.    

Road safety campaigner Clive Matthew Wilson says education is a waste of time we have to get tough and that could include the cops seizing the offending device.  So if you’re caught using your phone on the road you will lose it.  And there’s another aspect to this, it’s not just drivers using devices who are a menace on the road.  What about cyclists, riding along listening to music on headphones. If it’s fair to ban drivers why not ban cyclists? And lets go a step further, is a pedestrian with headphones on any less of a danger to everyone as a driver?

 It’s happened to me several times, nearly hitting a pedestrian wandering onto the road not a care in the world. Oblivious to what’s happening around them, because the headphones are on they are in a totally different world.  It’s bad enough on the footpath with zoned out walkers imagine the chaos when they step onto the roads. So should everyone be banned from theses distractions on the road? 

Mark Sainsbury is RadioLIVE's Morning Talk host.