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Increased penalties for texting while driving in Australia

Staff Writer | September 2, 2016
From September 1, tough new penalties are coming into force for texting, using social media or the internet while driving, announced The Australian Capital Territory's (ACT) Road Safety Minister Shane Rattenbury.
Texting while driving
Down Under   Tough new penalties are coming into force
“In this day and age we all have our phones on us most of the time and we are expected to be instantaneously responsive. But using your phone while driving is perhaps the most dangerous form of driver distraction,” said Rattenbury.

“Taking your eyes off the road, even for just a few seconds, can have devastating consequences. You are putting yourself and other road users at an incredible risk.

“There are, of course, existing penalties for using your phone while driving, including a $416 fine and three demerit points. These remain unchanged.

“From September 1, a new, separate penalty will be introduced for the use of a mobile device for messaging, social networking, mobile application or accessing the internet.

"By increasing fines and demerit points, coupled with targeted education and enforcement campaigns, the ACT has sent a clear message, especially to novice drivers; your distracted driving is dangerous driving! If you can't control your unhealthy behaviour, you may be back to asking mum or dad for a lift."

Young and novice drivers are particularly vulnerable to the effects of driver distraction. Rattenbury cited evidence which points to the fact that they have not yet “automated” many driving tasks and therefore have less capacity to devote to other tasks at the same time as driving.


 

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