All P-plate drivers across NSW will be banned from using mobile phones, including hands-free mode, while driving, under tough new licensing laws.
The law, which comes into effect on December 1, will see a blanket ban on all provisional license holders using mobile phones in any way while driving, including map applications and hands-free or speaker phone mode, in an attempt to reduce fatalities among young drivers.
Roads and Transport technical support officer Dennis Rigby believes map applications should be modified for drivers to be able to use them like a GPS system.
“I think map apps should have the same technology as a GPS units in cars where you can not set a destination while the vehicle is moving,” Mr Rigby told The Newsroom.
“I personally have no issues with someone using their phone while driving as long as they are complying with the road rules while using their device.
“Smart phones have these apps to make our life easier and P-platers are the digital generation so in a way it’s probably safer for them to use their map apps than an older person who struggles to use their phone like young people can.”
In NSW this year, 21 young people have died on our roads in accidents involving P-plate drivers.
NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay says these figures are “heartbreaking”.
“That is more than a rugby team that won’t come home because of accidents which could have been avoided,” Mr Gay told the media when announcing the new restrictions.
Eloise Jaksic, a 25-year-old P-plater from Drummoyne, said she was constantly speaking to people on her phone while driving and, being an older P-plate driver, she believes these laws are unnecessary.
“Speaking hands free on the phone isn’t much different to speaking to a passenger in the car,” Ms Jaksic said.
“Answering and ending the call is the same as turning on or off your radio.”
Jessica Balzer, a 21-year-old actor from Lane Cove, uses the map application on her phone on a daily basis.
“Personally, I think the new law regarding no GPS while driving is ridiculous,” Ms Balzer said.
“I use my map apps on my iPhone every day travelling from job to job, and trying to remember where I’m going by memorising it off a map is far more distracting than just having an electronic device speak the directions to me.”
Ms Balzer does agree with the ban on speaking on the phone while driving but thinks it should be a ban for all drivers.
“I agree that talking on the phone should be banned in cars, but not just P-platers. All drivers should not be able to use hands-free or speaker.
“Why should P-platers happen to be the ones that are apparently incapable of multi-tasking?” – Paul Burns
Photo created by Peter Moon