February 11, 2012
The survey found 54 per cent of drivers admitted they had answered calls while driving. Photo: Louise Kennerley
MORE than half of Australian drivers have used mobile phones while driving, a survey has found.
In the 2011 Survey of Community Attitudes to Road Safety, 54 per cent of drivers admitted they had answered calls while driving, and 27 per cent had made calls.
Nearly a third of respondents admitted reading text messages while driving, and 14 per cent said they had sent messages. But 86 per cent acknowledged using a mobile phone while driving increased the chance of an accident.
Almost 98 per cent agreed with random breath testing.
Respondents also agreed speed was the factor that most often caused accidents.
The Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Transport, Catherine King, said the survey showed a complex picture of the community's relationship with road safety.
''Australians generally have good awareness of the major factors involved in road crashes, such as speeding, drink driving, lack of concentration and fatigue,'' she said yesterday.
''It also shows that Australians on the whole approve of existing traffic regulation and enforcement practices.''
But Ms King said these responsible attitudes did not necessarily translate to responsible driver behaviour. ''It should be obvious to everyone that texting while driving is reckless behaviour and is simply unacceptable.'' While drivers' knowledge of the dangers of speeding has increased, 70 per cent of drivers admit to sometimes travelling at 10 kilometres or more above the speed limit.
And 28 per cent of people believe it is all right to speed as long as it is done safely.
Driver fatigue is still a significant issue.
About 13 per cent of respondents said they had fallen asleep at the wheel, and among them 44 per cent had done so more than once.