26 September 2023

New road rules to aim at distractions

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New road rules for driving in Victoria are to come into effect next month extending the State’s existing mobile phone restrictions so they cover modern technology.

Announced by the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Melissa Horne, the drivers’ new distraction road-rules come to life across the State from 31 March.

Ms Horne said the new rules would cover in-built vehicle systems, mounted devices, as well as wearable and portable devices such as smartwatches and tablets.

“Distraction is a key contributor to road trauma with research showing the risk of drivers crashing increases when texting, browsing or emailing,” Ms Horne said.

“Distraction is also involved in at least 11 per cent of fatalities – equal to 20 people each year whose death is avoidable,” she said.

“The new rules will extend existing mobile phone rules to cover modern technology – as one third of drivers admit to using their phone illegally while driving.”

Ms Horne said motorists caught driving distracted can expect to receive penalties of four demerit points and a $555 fine.

She said learners and probationary drivers were at a much greater risk in their first years of driving so stronger conditions would apply to them, including not touching any portable device, taking phone calls or using voice control unless parked.

“A two-second glance at a device means you are travelling blind for 28 metres while driving in a 50km/h zone and the distance jumps to 55 metres when travelling at 100km/h,” the Minister said.

“Community awareness campaigns will run over the coming months to educate drivers on the devastating risks of distraction,” she said.

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