DISTRACTED: Texting drivers were six times more likely to crash than focussed drivers.
DISTRACTED: Texting drivers were six times more likely to crash than focussed drivers. Marc Stapelberg

Texting drivers risking lives

ALMOST 290 Queenslanders would die in road crashes each year by 2030, if nothing is done to stop distracted drivers.

Reports from the Federal Department of Infrastructure Regional Development and Cities revealed this jump from the 247 deaths reported in 2017.

The report followed the release of research by the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety Queensland, which found most drivers did not think texting while driving was dangerous.

RACQ spokesperson Renee Smith said at least one in four crashes occurred as the result of distracted driving.

"When you touch your phone - be it to text, check social media, play music - you're holding the lives of yourself and others in your hand,” Ms Smith said.

Drivers struggled to put down the phone, despite research showing texting motorists were six times more likely to crash.

"Distractions can steal moments, and a moment is all it takes for a life to be lost on the road,” she said.

Distraction is one of the Fatal Five named in the road safety campaign for a reason, people need to wake up to the risks, Ms Smith said.

The behaviour of motorists who are so tempted to reach for their phone whenever it buzzes needs to be changed, Ms Smith said.

"At the end of the day drivers need to leave the phone alone and focus on driving. FOMO (fear of missing out) is real, but you'll miss out on more if you crash,” she said.

The New South Wales Government began operating new camera technology capable of detecting drivers who illegally used their mobile phones, from July 1.

RACQ was supportive of efforts to explore new technologies, but in the meantime, a greater road policing presence was needed.

"We know that people change their behaviour if they know there's an increased chance they'll be caught,” Ms Smith said.

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