Victoria’s cycling lobby group has proposed a radical new plan to stop drivers using their mobiles while on the road.
The Bicycle Network is proposing technology be installed in every Australian car to block mobile phone signals – but there is concern it could also prevent the use of phones in emergencies.
The technology would cost thousands of dollars to install, but Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards said it’s a necessary step to reduce the number of deaths on Australian roads.
“As bike riders, we can see into cars and what drivers are up to,” Mr Richards told News Corp.
“Every day we despair when we see drivers texting or just mucking around on Facebook. We understand the addictive lure of the phone, but it’s risking lives.”
Appearing on Sunrise, 3AW radio host Tom Elliott criticised the plan, saying there were too many legitimate reasons for mobile phone use to support a ban.
“There are plenty of legitimate reasons, and you can use things like voice recognition to make calls and send texts. You might need to make a call in an emergency,” he said.
Social commentator Jane Caro said agreed.
“I think we need harsher penalties and fines. It makes me worry about the blanket lock,” she said.
“People use their phone to report car accidents. They use it to report fires, all sorts of things that are helpful. I think a blanket ban, I suspect people would find a way around it.”
The proposal follows a government report that says phone use while driving will push Victoria’s annual road toll to 329 by 2030.
In 2017, the death toll stood at 258.