|Mobile phone use in cars is of "enormous concern" to|
road safety authorities in Tasmania
(ABC News: Kym Agius)
by Tamara Glumac, abc.net.au, 21 April 2016
Blocking mobile phone signals in cars is among a range of new ideas being considered to reduce trauma on Tasmanian roads.
Since 2005, there have been 24,000 casualties on Tasmanian roads, including 3,500 deaths or serious injuries.
The Road Safety Advisory Council (RSAC) has released detailed crash statistics, with ideas on how to reduce the toll as it prepares a new 10-year strategy.
One of the more radical options being considered is blocking mobile phone signals in moving cars.
The council's Jim Cox said he had no doubt that would occur.
"I believe there's one in America, they've actually started a program whereby you put the app into your phone and it does actually turn off when you get into the vehicle," he said.
Mr Cox said mobile phone use was an "enormous concern" on the roads.
"The moment you are playing with a mobile phone or whether you're texting, or whether you're talking, your concentration is there and not on what you're doing, so it's a split second decision that you won't make and can end in tragedies," he said.
The figures show more than 40 per cent of those seriously injured or killed on Tasmanian roads were aged under 30, and nearly 70 per cent were male.
Inattention was the major cause of crashes, accounting for 30 per cent.
The council has been consulting with local councils, the transport industry, road user groups and the wider community, as it prepares to launch new policies next year.
It has released a discussion paper, including the mobile phone proposals and other initiatives, to reduce the number and severity of crashes.
Mr Cox said reduced speed limits, more police on the roads and increased penalties were other options being considered for the new road safety strategy.
"The challenge for us is to get the best long term road safety outcome for Tasmania...we need to make safer roads, safer vehicles," he said.
"But whatever we do ultimately the decision of what you do when you get into a motor vehicle or onto a motorbike is your responsibility."