Phone ban sends a message to P-platers

Tough new restrictions on all P-plate drivers will mean novice drivers will no longer be able to use their mobile phones while driving even in hands-free or speaker mode.

The new laws, which will be introduced tomorrow, are designed to stop young people putting their lives at risk by talking on the phone while they drive.

Every year an increasing number of young drivers are involved in fatal accidents on our roads.

Crime scene investigations often reveal these accidents could have been avoided had the driver paid more attention to the road in front of them and given less attention to what their friends were saying on their mobile phones.

While the bans are viewed by some as being extreme, you need only look at the high death toll for P-plate drivers, which is around double that of regular drivers despite them only comprising 10 per cent of all road users, to know this new legislation is worth supporting.

So why do so many young people ring and drive? Is there not enough education on just how much lapses of concentration can impact a driver's ability to drive?

Perhaps a saturation of the don't drink and drive message means the dial and drive message has been lost.

As parents it's up to all of us to educate our children on the dangers of life, and that includes mobile phone usage.

It’s easy to avoid the accidents that result in mobile phone usage; just turn it off when you drive and retrieve the messages when you’ve finished driving.

​NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said the motoring group backed the changes even if it meant P-platers could no longer use the GPS component in their phone to give them directions.

There is always the option of the store-bought GPS that drivers have been using since the old-fashioned road maps went out of vogue a few years ago.

It’s no secret that mobile phones are a distraction to all drivers, not just novices.

And while there is not a lot of difference between people talking to a passenger in the car than talking over a phone on Bluetooth, it is hoped the new law will still be a valuable deterrent for our young drivers to keep their focus on the road.

If deterrents or fines are needed to stop reckless young drivers from risking their lives and the lives of other road users then so be it.