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

Ian Bushnell 19 June 2019 73

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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73 Responses to
Mobile device ban for L and P drivers includes hands-free set-ups
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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.

10:07 pm 19 Jun 19

I think a car is a mobile device

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.

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

7:45 pm 19 Jun 19

Libby - what I was talking about yesterday

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...

6:30 pm 19 Jun 19

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

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.

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.

    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

    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.

    4:05 pm 23 Jun 19

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

    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.

4:07 pm 19 Jun 19

Melody Downing to note when you return.

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

3:29 pm 19 Jun 19

What about those that have ear bods in ?

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.

1:58 pm 19 Jun 19

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

1:54 pm 19 Jun 19

I know I'm going to sound like an old fart but.....

Car driving has been around longer than mobile phones. You learn to drive without using a mobile phone. You should, therefore still be able to use a car without using a mobile phone.

If you have GPS, it's pretty easy to preprogram a address in before you engage first and move forward.

I could be really sarcastic now about the state of current driver's but I won't. But I honestly felt safer on the road as a 19 year old in 1986 than I do now. And that's with safer cars on the roads nowadays.

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

1:06 pm 19 Jun 19

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

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

    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.

    7:07 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.

    9:59 pm 22 Jun 19

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

12:16 pm 19 Jun 19

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

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

    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?

    5:11 pm 19 Jun 19

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

    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

    5:18 pm 19 Jun 19

    Keith Main or anyone considering the media blitz

    6:31 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.

    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

    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.

    7:39 pm 19 Jun 19

    ... except it isn't?

    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.

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