Video transcriptGPS: In 500 metres, turn right.
[A city driver checks his GPS. The screen goes black. The car ahead is suddenly much closer. He swerves. It turns a corner. He looks tense.]
(MUSIC PLAYS ON RADIO)
(DRIVER SINGS ALONG SILENTLY)
(DRIVER CHANGES RADIO STATION)
(NEW SONG PLAYS)
[On a country road, he adjusts his radio. The screen goes black. He swerves suddenly and dodges cyclists. His face looks strained.
Ahead, schoolchildren step from a city tram.]
VOICEOVER: If you're distracted for just two seconds at 50km an hour...
VOICEOVER: ..you'll travel 27 metres blind.
(TRAM BELL RINGS)
DRIVER: Ohhh. Ohh!
[TEXT: Distractions lead to disaster.
Logos for TAC and State Government Victoria appear.]
End of the transcript
Blind is a 45 second commercial that clearly shows the disastrous consequences of driver inattention. Here drivers are reminded that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds when driving at 50km/h, means you travel for 27 metres effectively blind. The commercials are rated PG - parental guidance is recommended for those under 15 years.
Distracted road users were the target of a TAC campaign launched in February 2013 with the aim to highlight the dangers of taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds.
International research into road user distractions has established the 'eyes off the road' time theory as a major contributor to crashes. This 'eyes off the road' time is generally defined as two seconds plus - the average person's reaction time to an event is 1.8 seconds which is factored into the probability of a crash and the severity of injury from a crash. This means nearly four seconds can pass before the average 'distracted' driver can react.
The following table displays the distance travelled in two seconds by a driver at various speeds:
|Travel Speed||Distraction Time||Distance Travelled (metres)|
How to Calculate Distraction Time
To calculate the distance travelled in two seconds, multiply speed in kilometres x 1000 metres divided by 3,600 seconds = speed in metres per second. To calculate the distance in metres travelled in two seconds, multiply the answer by two.
The campaign appeared on TV and radio as well as online and on outdoor signs.
There are more distractions for road users than ever before - and in a recent road safety survey, Victorians are concerned about how distractions are affecting their safety on the roads.
Any object or activity that takes a person's attention away from the road - whether it is a mobile phone or MP3 player, eating or talking to others - is a potential distraction. These distractions not only affect drivers, but also vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.
The TAC has used research from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) which reports there are four distinct types of distraction:
- physical and
These can be put into two categories:
- Technology-based - mobile phones, navigation devices, DVD players and MP3 players) and
- Non-technology based - talking to passengers, eating, drinking and smoking
A US observational study has found 80% of collisions are caused by motorists whose attention is taken away from the road. The study found distraction was the single biggest cause of crashes and near misses - with road users who take their eyes of the road for two seconds or longer, doubling their crash risk.
Driving while using a mobile phone can impair a driver's:
- reaction time
- visual search patterns
- ability to maintain speed and position on the road
- ability to judge safe gaps in the traffic and
- general awareness of other traffic.
Run-off-the-road crashes and 'rear end' crashes are the most common types of crashes associated with mobile phone usage.
From 25 November 2013, new rules relating to the use of mobile phones while driving were introduced in Victoria.
Penalties for the illegal use of mobile phones whilst driving will increase:
- the fine from $289 to $443
- demerit points from 3 to 4 points.
Penalties for the illegal use of visual display units such as DVD players and tablet computers will be consistent with mobile phone penalties:
- $433 fine
- 4 demerit points.
Holders of a probationary P2 licence will not be able to use a mobile phone for any task while driving, including making or receiving a call or messaging of any kind; this ban already applies to probationary P1 licence holders and learner drivers.
Note that it remains illegal for any driver to use a hand-held mobile phone or visual display unit while driving.
Using a mobile phone when driving, is the third most common on-the-spot driving offence after speeding and not wearing seatbelts. Under Victoria's Graduated Licensing System (GLS), learner and P1 probationary drivers are banned from using mobile phones, including hands free.
It is difficult for legislation, regulations and standards to keep pace with new devices which can potentially distract drivers such as in-car DVD players, GPS and communication systems. Ultimately, it is the driver's responsibility to avoid distraction.