- Younger motorists less confident using a phone while driving than they were two years ago
- Checking phone while stopped at a traffic light and changing song on playlist most common uses
- Texting while driving considered more likely to cause a fatality than drink driving.
In January 2020 Budget Direct asked 1000 Australian adults about their attitudes and behaviours when it comes to using a mobile phone while driving.
Here’s what they told us:
Do you/would you feel confident driving while using your phone?
This question is the same as one we asked in 2018. So you can compare how confidence levels have shifted over the past two years.
Nationwide, there was a slight fall in motorists’ confidence in their ability —actual or perceived – to drive while using a mobile phone.
In most states, there was a drop in motorists’ confidence in their ability —actual or perceived – to drive while using a mobile phone.
New South Wales was the exception, with confidence levels remaining steady.
(The small sample sizes in ACT, Tasmania and the Northern Territory make comparisons over time less reliable.)
Younger motorists’ confidence in their ability —actual or perceived – to drive while using a mobile phone has fallen sharply over the past two years.
In the 18–24 and 25–34 age groups, the number of people who said they were confident declined by 58.7% and 70.8% respectively.
It’s difficult to pinpoint why, however greater public awareness of the dangers of distracted driving may have played a role.
The falls in younger motorists’ confidence levels was offset by rises in those of older drivers.
Men and — more so — women are less confident than they were two years ago in their ability (actual or perceived) to drive while using a mobile phone.
What's the main way you've used your mobile phone while driving in the past two weeks?
Checking it while stopped at traffic lights was the main way people used their phones.
This is perhaps partly explained by some people’s mistaken belief that it’s OK to use your phone if your car is stationary.
What's the main reason you used your phone while driving in the past two weeks?
The main reason respondents gave for using their phones over the previous two weeks was that they felt safe and capable of doing so. Force of habit was another prime reason.
Which of these scenarios is most acceptable — with the phone out of its cradle?
Surprisingly, with a phone out of its cradle, more respondents thought it acceptable to reply to a text in a moving car than to check the phone in a stationary one.
Which of these scenarios is most acceptable — with the phone in its cradle?
With a phone in its cradle, a majority of respondents said any type of use was unacceptable. They were more relaxed about using a phone out of its cradle (see question above).
Which of these factors is most likely to result in a road fatality?
That texting and drink driving are considered comparable risks squares with research showing the response times of distracted drivers and drunk drivers are similar.