Inattention and distraction

Keep your eyes on the road

Why you can’t drive and use your mobile at the same time. More here.  

Driver distraction and inattention contributed to the deaths of  223 people and 1289 serious injuries on Tasmanian roads in the 10 years to December 31 2013. If distracted when driving, you risk having a serious crash and the faster you are going, the greater the risk. Common sources of driver inattention and distraction include:

  • Using mobile phones
  • Eating or drinking
  • Changing radio stations or CDs
  • Adjusting climate controls
  • Paying attention to children or other passengers
  • Smoking.

Although driving may seem straightforward, it  is  a complex task and to drive safely, you must give all your attention to driving.  Becoming distracted or not paying full attention may cause you to:

  • Wander out of your lane
  • Vary your driving speed
  • Misjudge safe gaps in traffic
  • React more slowly
  • Be generally less aware of traffic and other hazards.

If you are distracted for just two seconds, you can go a long way, depending on your speed, before you stop.

Speed Distraction time (seconds) Distance travelled (metres) Reaction time (seconds) Distance travelled (metres) Braking distance (metres) Total distance (metres)
40 km/h

2

22.22

2

22.22

7.86

52.3

50 km/h

2

27.78

2

27.78

12.29

67.85

60 km/h

2

33.33

2

33.33

17.70

84.36

80 km/h

2

44.44

2

44.44

31.46

120.34

100 km/h

2

55.56

2

55.56

49.17

160.29

How to avoid distractions

We are all busy and often try to do many things at once. Combining driving with any other activity can be fatal. To avoid distraction:

  • Turn off your mobile telephone before turning on the ignition or, if you’ve got an android phone, use this VicRoads Road Mode app. There’s more information here.
  • Spend a few minutes getting organised before you start driving
  • Concentrate on driving and nothing else
  • Don’t take risks – stop and take care of something that will distract you from the major task of driving.

Mobile phones

Mobile phone use while driving puts the driver, passengers and other road users at a high risk of crashing and it is particularly associated with run-off-road crashes and rear-end crashes. Turn  off your mobile phone before you turn on the ignition.

Never send text messages while driving – it can be fatal (see here).

It is ultimately the driver’s responsibility to avoid distraction. If you are caught using a hand-held mobile phone while driving, you will be fined $300 and lose three demerit points.

It is preferable not to use hands-free technology. Take the test here to find out why.

Watch the video below to see what happens when you drive while using your mobile.

Please wait a moment while the video below loads. It is produced by
a Belgium organization, Responsible Young Drivers.

How distraction can lead to disaster