Distracting drivers a killer on QLD roads

MEG BOLTON

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Almost 9 in 10 high school students admit to being a distracting car passenger. Photo: freeaussiestock.com

The RACQ has just released new research showing 85 per cent of high school students admit to being a distracting car passenger.

Queensland’s males aged 17-24 were identified to be most at risk of being involved in a crash and were also the highest group for fatalities.

Lauren Ritchie from RACQ said their new program targets this age group in hope of changing the behaviours of both passengers and drivers.

“As part of our ‘docudrama’ program which goes to schools right across Queensland we are talking about empowering young teenagers to speak up and to recognise the behaviours that they’re doing as a passenger and how they may affect others in the car,” Ms Ritchie said.

The motoring body is urging teenage passengers in cars to take more responsibility in preventing young drivers from doing silly and dangerous things.

“What is really alarming here is that teenagers who are in our highest risk group are admitting to doing this behavior and probably not recognising how big of a danger it is,” Ms Ritchie said.

The latest research pegs distracting behaviour as anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road or their hands off the wheel.

“It (driver distraction) could be a range of things like turning the radio up really loudly, offering food to driver or showing them their phone for something to look at,” Ms Ritchie said.

The survey also revealed three quarters of students believed their lives had been at risk as a passenger.

Data analysis showed driver distraction is fast becoming the biggest problem on the roads.

“Distraction is part of the fatal five for a reason, it is one of the five most deadly causes of crashes,” Ms Ritchie said.

Statistics show that taking your eyes off the wheel for just 2 seconds whilst driving at 60 km/h you travel 33 metres completely blind.

 

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