Forbes drivers urged to buckle up, put down the phone after surveys

Drivers have been reminded to put down their mobile phones after the latest observation survey recorded 29 motorists using their phones while driving in Forbes, Parkes and Condobolin.

Melanie Suitor.

Melanie Suitor.

A survey conducted across the three towns showed that there was, overall, no improvement to the mobile phone usage rate compared to an earlier survey conducted in April. But local figures have improved.

The survey also showed a 0.2 per cent decrease in the combined seatbelt wearing rate in comparison to the April survey.

The Councils' Road Safety and injury Prevention Officer, Melanie Suitor, said that this equated 70 people not wearing a seatbelt.

“In a crash a person who is not restrained with a seatbelt will continue to travel forward at the speed the vehicle was travelling until something stops them,” she said. 

“This could be the steering wheel, dashboard or windscreen. 

“Seatbelts save lives and prevent injuries.”

The observation surveys are conducted bi-annually in Parkes, Forbes and Condobolin. 

There is an urban and highway location in each town with survey staff conducting the observations for an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon.

Forbes showed a four per cent drop in people not wearing seatbelts in town, a two per cent drop in people not wearing them on the highway.

There was a four per cent drop in the number of people using their phones while driving in town. 

“The survey shows that the group most at risk were males,” Ms Suitor said. 

“There were 14 male drivers observed using their mobile phon.

“Driving is a complex task.

“Anything that takes your mind or eyes off the road, or your hands off the wheel, not only compromises your safety, but that of everyone else on the road. 

“Being distracted increases your chances of having a crash. 

“It slows down your reaction times and puts you in danger of failing to see hazards such as stop signs or other road users, including pedestrians and cyclists.” 

The next observation survey will be conducted in April 2018.

Ms Suitor said the surveys give good insight into driver and passenger behaviour.

“If needed following the results of the next round of surveys, we will also be developing, implementing and evaluating a low cost education campaign aimed at improving the usage rates,” she said.