Mobile device ban for L and P drivers includes hands-free set-ups

Ian Bushnell 19 June 2019 61

Research shows an estimated three in four young Canberrans surveyed said they had read one text message while driving in the past week, while more than half had sent at least one text message.

Learner permit and provisional licence drivers will be banned from using any kind of mobile device when behind the wheel from 1 July, including hands-free arrangements.

Minister for Road Safety Shane Rattenbury said the new rule was the first of a range of changes based on best practice and designed to reduce injuries and deaths on ACT roads.

He said that in the ACT, it was already illegal to call, text or use social media when driving and from 1 July 2019, learners and provisional drivers also would not be allowed to use Bluetooth hands-free or speaker mode while driving.

But they will still be able to use GPS-enabled devices to help them with directions, provided that the device is not being held by the driver and is programmed before the trip starts so that it requires no interaction during travel. There is a similar exception for listening to audio such as music and podcasts.

The penalties for messaging, social media use, accessing applications and the internet will be $589 and four demerit points. If caught talking hands-free and in speaker mode, drivers will be fined $480 and lose three demerit points.

“Evidence shows that it’s not safe to use any device while driving, and any activity that distracts a driver can result in more lane deviations, slower reaction times, and the risk of not anticipating potential hazards; these risks are amplified for young drivers,” Mr Rattenbury said.

Research also showed that young drivers were more prone to distraction than older, more experienced drivers, and that drivers who looked at their mobile phones while driving were three times more likely to be involved in a crash.

Recent research conducted by the University of Canberra in August 2016 surveyed 612 young ACT drivers (aged 17-24 years) on the extent and nature of risky driving behaviours.

An estimated three in four young Canberrans surveyed said they had read one text message while driving in the past week, while more than half had sent at least one text message. Other young people surveyed reported using their mobile phones while driving in other ways, including for GPS navigation (61 per cent) and social media (21.2 per cent).

Mr Rattenbury said the ACT Government had undertaken significant public and stakeholder consultation over the last 12 months in relation to these important road safety changes, with more than 85 per cent of people surveyed supporting a total mobile ban for L and P drivers.

Over the coming months the Government would be developing and distributing a comprehensive awareness campaign to help the community understand the new requirements.

“Too many young drivers are being killed and injured on our roads. There is no one solution, which is why we are looking at a range of approaches that work together to reduce risk for new and young drivers,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“It is also important that parents, carers and families understand and recognise the value of these initiatives.

“Many young drivers do the right thing, obey the speed limit and drive safely. These measures will support them and better prepare them for a lifetime of safe driving.”

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61 Responses to Mobile device ban for L and P drivers includes hands-free set-ups
Gabriel Spacca Gabriel Spacca 12:22 am 20 Jun 19

Thank God when I learned to drive there was nothing to distract us. Like radios or tape decks, or CD players.

Peter Denis Noakes Peter Denis Noakes 10:07 pm 19 Jun 19

I think a car is a mobile device

bigred bigred 8:58 pm 19 Jun 19

While I accept we have a bad driving plague going on (the outcomes are on display in TCH most times every day of the week), and venture to say it is across all age groups, I cannot see wide ranging package that will save us from our bad driving selves. Instead, I see a pretty a couple of bits of windows dressing targeted at a group who are unlikely to be on the electoral roll when we vote next year.

Anthony Grice Anthony Grice 8:28 pm 19 Jun 19

If an L plate driver is using their phone, the full licensed passenger instructing them should also have the same penalties

    Paul Hinchy Paul Hinchy 10:31 pm 19 Jun 19

    As far as I know the licenced driver cant use their phone either

Graeme Light Graeme Light 7:45 pm 19 Jun 19

Libby - what I was talking about yesterday

Bekah Glaz Bekah Glaz 7:28 pm 19 Jun 19

So they're going to stop L and P platers from talking to passengers too, even their driving instructors? How is it different?

Anyway, if they can't police the L platers doing 110 on Barton hwy, not sure how they'll police this...

William William William William 6:30 pm 19 Jun 19

See drivers with l plates still on vehicle's even when fines so higher

Penny Blythman Penny Blythman 5:04 pm 19 Jun 19

OMG the rules are to keep those who are highly represented in the road toll safe/safer.

The sky won’t fall in because you can’t use your device 24/7.

Beck Bianco Beck Bianco 4:12 pm 19 Jun 19

Wonderful so if they can’t afford a gps system they can drive around clueless to knowing directions, unless pulling over to look,like the good old days. That doesn’t cause extra stress that creates unsafe driving.

    Margaret Rose Margaret Rose 10:14 am 20 Jun 19

    Beck Bianco ever heard of an old fashioned map ? and looking up on said map ,the route you are going to take ? How do you think people managed before gps systems and mobile phones , The less distractions people have while driving the better

    Beck Bianco Beck Bianco 11:41 am 20 Jun 19

    Margaret Rose Margaret Rose ok I see you can’t read between the lines so let me help you. Where I’ve written ‘clueless to directions, without pulling over to look, like the good old days’ means pulling over and looking at a map (whether electronically or otherwise). I can tell you that a driver who is unsure where they’re going is more likely to drive unsafely and needing to pull over on a busy road can be dangerous.

    Roads are a lot busier and cities a lot bigger then the old days so it’s not even comparable and please no one is remembering directions that are more than a few turns and streets.

    Indra Silins Indra Silins 4:05 pm 23 Jun 19

    They can use voice guided GPS...just have to setup before they start driving.

    Stephen Clively Stephen Clively 5:03 pm 04 Jul 19

    This is a good point Beck. It seems that things would be much less safe if a P plate driver (who could have nearly three years of experience driving on the road before graduating off P2 plates) cannot interact with a hands free GPS.

Jacqueline Keningale Jacqueline Keningale 4:07 pm 19 Jun 19

Melody Downing to note when you return.

Anne Hughes Anne Hughes 3:49 pm 19 Jun 19

Like this is going to work🤣🤣 the amount of drivers i see at 7.20am on their phones is astounding and not a police car in sight this is the time of change of shift its a joke

Gerry Gageldonk Gerry Gageldonk 3:29 pm 19 Jun 19

What about those that have ear bods in ?

Gordon Fairulegoat Everitt Gordon Fairulegoat Everitt 3:00 pm 19 Jun 19

More Ridiculous blatant revenue raising. Throw the book at those that are caught holding a phone. The rest deserve to be commended not punished.

Angus Bucknell Angus Bucknell 1:58 pm 19 Jun 19

Are they allowed to look at the dials and gauges and mirrors?

Jocelyn Dexter Jocelyn Dexter 1:20 pm 19 Jun 19

Should be the same rule for all drivers! Every second driver is swerving all over the road because they are on their phones

Anissa Weekes Anissa Weekes 1:06 pm 19 Jun 19

Emma Lemaitre Lauren Steele Sharon Steele did you hear about this?

Anne Berriman Anne Berriman 12:43 pm 19 Jun 19

I think this is not realistic especially P players who have passed with an instructor in the car talking to them what's the difference between that and handsfree, L platters I get

    Jo Miles Jo Miles 1:56 pm 19 Jun 19

    The fact that the person is not in the car is thought to change the concentration required to interact with them. They also cannot see what is happening and adjust their conversation appropriately. I can sort of appreciate that.

    Lin Van Oevelen Lin Van Oevelen 7:05 pm 19 Jun 19

    If a person in the car is talking to you, you can just tune them out if you need to focus more on driving. I do this all the time, to my teenager's great annoyance when I ask her to repeat herself ("Can you at least warn me when you're going to stop listening!").

    But you tend to try and avoid silences in phone conversations.

    GaryLouise Notnats GaryLouise Notnats 9:59 pm 22 Jun 19

    Think about it people - First the "L" & "P" then it will be anyone behind the wheel.

Lauren Montagnese Lauren Montagnese 12:16 pm 19 Jun 19

Should we also ban them from talking to their passengers?? 🙄

Keith Main Keith Main 12:05 pm 19 Jun 19

I got my licence in 1994 and it annoys me that there are significant changes to the rules and you find out about them on sites like this why is it that there is no official communications to ensure everybody is aware of the rules before they get caught and find

    Damien Maier Damien Maier 5:10 pm 19 Jun 19

    So far I've seen it on the news, read it online, heard it on the radio. Do you want a personal phone call?

    Damien Maier Damien Maier 5:11 pm 19 Jun 19

    And I got my license in 1990, since that is somehow important?

    Keith Main Keith Main 5:17 pm 19 Jun 19

    Damien Maier glad to hear that you are able to stay abreast of all the rule changes no excuses for you then

    Damien Maier Damien Maier 5:18 pm 19 Jun 19

    Keith Main or anyone considering the media blitz

    Simon Power Simon Power 6:24 pm 19 Jun 19

    Keith Main 1) if you got your licence in ‘94, then this law doesn’t apply to you.

    2) ignorance of the law is not an excuse.

    Keith Main Keith Main 6:36 pm 19 Jun 19

    Thanks Simon, I was speaking more in general. The rules are changing and people who got their licence a while ago don't always watch the news or pay attention to social media. if that was even around at the time they got their licence, they could get caught out if they don't look at posts like this one or watch the evening news

    Keith Main Keith Main 7:13 pm 19 Jun 19

    Thanks Simon, let me know how you go if your parents decide to travel around the country and one of them is sitting on the passenger side on an iPod looking up directions and they get caught, only to fund this is another new rule.

    Damien Maier Damien Maier 7:39 pm 19 Jun 19

    ... except it isn't?

    Simon Power Simon Power 9:54 pm 19 Jun 19

    Keith Main what are you talking about. That isn’t a law... and if it becomes law, I’m sure they will follow it. Actually they won’t. They don’t have iPods.

Frowe Mel Frowe Mel 11:57 am 19 Jun 19

Thank god I'm not an L or P plater. My phone automatically connects to my car, and I run spotify to listen to music. Phone calls automatically interrupt whatever music it on come through the Bluetooth. Its actually easier for me to press the button on the steerwheel to answer the call then it is to put my wipers on. I'd find it more distracting to listen to it ring out then to answer a call.

What are they going to do next? Tell L and P platers that they are not allowed to listen to mucic in the car? Not allowed to have passengers who talk?

To be honest, I find the L and P platers on the road generally more likely to follow the actual road rules then the majority of other canberra drivers who aren't displaying L or P plates.

    Daniel Oyston Daniel Oyston 12:30 pm 19 Jun 19

    It's OK, they can just unpair their device. And it isn't the answering of the phone that is such an issue. It's the conversation.

    Frowe Mel Frowe Mel 12:56 pm 19 Jun 19

    Daniel Oyston but that means they also cannot use their device for music if they unpair their device.

    Conversations are way more distracting with actual passengers in a car, rather the a disembodied voice over bluetooth. Are we hoing to ban passengers? Maybe we should ban the use of radio as well. That can be distracting.

    Its over the top. And like I said, I am glad I am not an L or P plater, so it doesn't affect me. But just because it doesn't affect me personally, doesn't mean I think its a good idea. I think its rediculous.

    Sarah Belling Sarah Belling 1:31 pm 19 Jun 19

    Actually the research shows that the conversation on the phone is just as distracting as having a passenger to talk to.

    Jo-Anne Groom Jo-Anne Groom 2:23 pm 19 Jun 19

    the article states that listening to music via a Bluetooth connect phone is exempt from the new law

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