Prime Mover Magazine

Mobile phone detection reforms with safeguards welcomed: ARTIO

The NSW Branch of the Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO)  has expressed support for reforms to mobile phone detection while driving a submission to a NSW parliamentary inquiry.

The submission also stressed it was crucial to have a well-funded education campaign to facilitate medium to long term cultural change.

It follows a six-month trial on two arterial roads in Sydney in which there was over 100,000 instances of illegal mobile phone use detected.

“ARTIO NSW congratulates the NSW Government on introducing legislation into the NSW parliament to give effect to these reforms,”

ARTIO NSW Secretary/Treasurer, Hugh McMaster said the trial proved the technology, that had not been used elsewhere in the world, was accurate and provided a sound basis for more effective enforcement.

“ARTIO NSW also congratulates the ALP and Greens for expressing support for the legislation while noting that opposition and minor party representatives raised concerns related to the application of the reverse onus of proof, privacy and the approach to education of drivers which have led to the parliamentary inquiry," he said.

“ARTIO NSW says the key to substantially reducing illegal mobile phone use while driving is education, as well as enforcement," said McMaster.

“We all respond differently depending on the message, the experience, the incentive, when and how we are taught, whether we are caught and penalised, the impact on our loved ones, and for other reasons.

The world leading reform, according to McMaster, is deserving of education and enforcement rival to the introduction of mandatory seat belt wearing and random breath testing given the extent and severity of the problem.

“ARTIO NSW has no concerns with the application of the reverse onus of proof in this instance because it believes there are adequate safeguards in place for a driver to challenge what is detected," he said.

“ARTIO NSW does not believe privacy issues will arise in road transport given clothing worn by drivers is suitable for a range of tasks such as loading, unloading, picking up and delivering, however, it believes an effective accountability regime is necessary to address broader community concerns.

“Endangering the lives of other road users and the broader community through illegal mobile phone use should not be tolerated.

Professional drivers are more likely to experience severe trauma due to their involvement in fatal and other serious crashes, or by being a first responder as a consequence of the amount of time they were on the road according to McMaster.

He added, “Any reform which aims to improve the safety of their road environment has ARTIO NSW’s strong support."

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