So while only 15% of Australian drivers feel confident in their ability to change music, call or text while driving, up to 61% of all drivers are using their phones. Which means that 46% of these people are not confident in their ability to drive. Which poses the question, what is worse: someone who uses their mobile phone confidently, or someone who still uses their phone, despite feeling unconfident in their ability to manage both tasks? Confident or unconfident, the risks are still the same for everybody.
Operating a mobile phone while driving is dangerous on more than one level. Operating a mobile phone can be not only a physical distraction, moving your hands away from the steering wheel, but a visual distraction as you divert your eyes from the road to look at the phone and a cognitive distraction as your attention is divided between concentrating on the road and the phone.
Research undertaken by CARRS-Q2 has shown that the actions of dialling, texting and talking on a mobile phone can lead to riskier decision making, slower reaction times, speed variation, less controlled braking, reduced awareness of surroundings. All of these factors mean there is a much higher crash risk for drivers using a mobile phone than those who do not use a mobile phone.
There were some interesting differences in confidence levels when looking at the data broken down by state. Whether individual state laws affect the attitudes of the responses is unknown, but there was no direct correlation between the state or territories’ penalties and the levels of confidence demonstrated by the drivers.