Bicycle Network is calling for mandatory mobile phone intervention technology after a government report highlighted that distracted driving will be a key cause in the increase of road fatalities and serious injuries in Australia over the next 12 years.
The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) has predicted the number of fatalities and injuries that require hospitalisation due to crashes on the road until the year 2030.
While the rate of deaths and injuries are forecast to very slowly decline, the increase in kilometres travelled will mean an overall increase of at least 14% in deaths, and at least 25% in serious injuries.
The report says that it is because of a lack of further policy measures that death and injury numbers will be negative, and it specifically lists personal device use a factor.
While some improvements in road and vehicle safety will be have a positive impact, this will be offset by mobile phone and device use.
Trends from previous years already show that device use overpowers road safety measures, with fatalities trending upwards from 2016 because of mobile phones.
Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards said that the BITRE report is further proof that there needs to be drastic change to stop one-armed drivers using their phones.
"This dire prediction of increased loss of life highlights that cars should be fitted with phone blocking technology. Until that happens, whenever you get behind the wheel, you should turn off your phone and put it well out of the reach.’
“As bike riders we can see into cars and what drivers are up to. Every day we despair when we see drivers texting or just mucking around on Facebook. We understand the addictive lure of the phone but it’s risking people’s lives.”
"It's clear that current policing isn't curbing behaviour. It’s unfair to put the burden on the police. We need to take phone use out of the hands of drivers"
Until now, overall road deaths in Australia have been declining, however Bicycle Network's bike rider fatality report 1998-2017 found that bike deaths have not.
In the past 20 years, the average number of bike rider fatalities in Australia has remained at 37 per year.
"It's unacceptable that bike rider deaths have not decreased in two decades, and it's absurd that they could increase. However, that's the reality we face if changes aren't made," added Mr Richards.