Driving safely in a digital world

Using your phone or any other device whilst driving has the potential to cause harm to yourself and other drivers as it can distract you from the road.

While you shouldn’t hold a phone while driving, here’s some advice if it’s imperative to make a call before arriving at your destination.

While drivers in certain states and territories are permitted to use hands free devices, it should be noted this alone does not ensure safe mobile phone usage. When on a hands free call, you should inform the person you’re speaking with that you are driving, so they understand you may not always be able to respond immediately.

It’s important that you adhere to the existing laws and practice common sense when using your mobile.

It’s safest if you avoid making and receiving calls in heavy traffic and bad weather, and steer clear of complicated, emotional or distracting conversations.

It’s also preferable to schedule calls when the car is stationary. If you pull over to make or answer a call, ensure you do so carefully and in a safe area where you will not be a hazard to other vehicles, pedestrians or yourself. You shouldn’t ever read or send texts, take notes during a call or look up numbers on your phone.

If in doubt, let the call divert to voicemail when you believe it is unsafe or unnecessary to answer.

Check out the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association website for more tips on driving safely.

Here are some apps to help

The best thing you can do is to switch off your phone before you sit in the driver’s seat.

However, there are a number of apps that can prevent you using your mobile while driving. For example, the app On My Way allows you to update family and friends with your location in real-time so that you don’t have to text or call them yourself. DriveSafeMode is a great one for parents, sending you notifications if your child uses their phone while travelling.

iPhone users with iOs 11 or later can similarly turn on the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature which will automatically sense when you are driving and block texts and notifications, leaving you free to concentrate on the road.

What does the law say?

The use of a hand-held device when driving is illegal in Australia.

Check out the laws in each state and territory in Australia: