25 September 2023

Transport watchdog driven to distraction

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The National Transport Commission (NTC) has launched a community consultation program on possible options for reduced driver distraction among Australia’s motorists.

Chief Executive of the NTC, Gillian Miles said distraction was a significant road safety risk that was not understood as well as other risk factors such as drink-driving and speeding.

“Studies have found that a task which takes a driver’s eyes off the road for as little as two seconds can be particularly hazardous,” Dr Miles said.

“New technology-related distractions, outdated rules and a general lack of understanding from road users present significant challenges.”

She said that on average, drivers engaged in a non-driving activity every 96 seconds while behind the wheel.

“Distractions take our concentration off the road which means we may not have time to react to hazards,” Dr Miles said.

“We are proposing four options for consideration. The views of a broad range of stakeholders are crucial to guide any policy reform to deal with driver distraction.”

She said the Australian Road Research Board had reviewed the best international research available to date on driver distraction.

“This work supports the NTC’s efforts in stimulating discussions about driver distraction research, policy and legislative reform options,” Dr Miles said.

Consultation on the paper closes on 21 August after which a paper will be prepared for Transport Ministers to consider in May 2020.

The Commission’s 119-page Consultation Regulation Impact Statement can be accessed at this PS News link.

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