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NTC to tackle driver distraction

The National Transport Commission (NTC) released a consultation regulation impact statement (RIS) this week seeking feedback on technology-neutral options to regulate driver distraction.

Distraction is seen as a significant road safety risk that is not as well understood as other risk factors such as drink-driving and speeding, according to the NTC. Studies have found that a task which takes a driver’s ‘eyes off the road’ for as little as two seconds can be particularly hazardous.

NTC CEO, Gillian Miles, said that new technology-related distractions, outdated rules and a general lack of understanding from road users present significant challenges.

“Drivers engage in non-driving activities every 96 seconds while behind the wheel. Distractions take our concentration off the road which means we may not have time to react to hazards.

“We are proposing four options for consideration. The views of a broad range of stakeholders are crucial to guide any policy reform to deal with driver distraction.”

The Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) reviewed the best international research available to date on driver distraction. This work supports the NTC’s efforts in stimulating discussions about driver distraction research, policy and legislative reform options.

Consultation on this paper closes on 21 August 2019. The NTC aims to deliver a decision RIS for transport ministers’ consideration in May 2020.

(Image: National Transport Commission CEO, Dr Gillian Miles.)

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