RAC is today launching an online toolkit to tackle distracted driving, as new research reveals motorists are struggling to reduce their mobile phone use behind the wheel.

The Drive in the Moment toolkit educates drivers about the dangers of distraction and creates a personalised strategy to help them break the habit.

RAC General Manager Corporate Affairs Will Golsby said many motorists struggle to safely manage the growing number of distractions that divert their attention from the road.

“As a leading factor in deaths and serious injuries on WA roads, distracted driving is one of the most complex road safety challenges we face,” Mr Golsby said.

“Whether it’s making a call, checking a notification, using a GPS app or changing a song — anything that takes your mind off the road ahead is putting yourself and other road users at risk.”

The Drive in the Moment toolkit applies learning from new research commissioned by the Australian Automobile Association, the national body of RAC, which revealed more than 55 per cent of Australian drivers surveyed believed switching off their devices is an effective way of reducing mobile use behind the wheel.

But only seven per cent said they used the strategy.

The research also shows parents who set a bad example by using their phone while driving come up as a strong influencer of younger drivers, specifically when it comes to calling, texting and using social media behind the wheel.

“This is not just an issue for younger generations, with the research revealing motorists both new and experienced engage with social media while driving at a similar rate,” Mr Golsby said.

“There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to reducing mobile phone use while driving and that’s why this new online resource is designed to help motorists understand the dangers of distraction and create a personalised plan to change their behaviour behind the wheel.

“We want all motorists to remember that using a phone while driving can have fatal consequences, and to commit to driving in the moment at all times.”

On 1 September 2020, increased penalties will come into effect for mobile phone use behind the wheel across Western Australia.


About the toolkit and research

Drive in the Moment and the distracted driving research was commissioned by the Australian Automobile Association in partnership with the New Zealand Automobile Association, using grant funding from the Federation Internationale de L’Automobile Foundation, and conducted by the Queensland University of Technology Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland.

Drive in the Moment uses similar approaches designed to break harmful habits like smoking or gambling. On the website drivers are taken on a journey to understand the danger, rate the risks, and make a plan to change their thinking and actions the next time they are tempted to use their phone.

A key part of the online tool is called the Plan Builder, which prompts the user to build a personalised, tailored plan to reduce their use by helping to identify the various ways and moments in which they are tempted to use a phone.

To view the research, please visit the website.

RAC Media Contact: Caitlin Barr, 0401 703 719 or media@rac.com.au