Distracted drivers a road hazard says Rod Barton
Distracted drivers are the greatest hazard on our roads says Eastern Metropolitan Region MP Rod Barton.
In his maiden speech to the legislative council, the newly elected member and leader of the Transport Matters party said the use of screens in vehicles posed an enormous risk to road users.
“Drivers are distracted on average every 96 seconds and they are doing everything from checking their phones, changing settings on their car navigation, eating, drinking and even applying makeup and brushing their hair,” Mr Barton said.
“They’re not looking at the road.”
As a former hire car driver Mr Barton said that accidents were a daily reality for those who worked on our roads and he had personal experience of what could happen when drivers were distracted.
“In 2016, on the way to a job near Melbourne Airport, an oncoming vehicle crossed the double white lines and hit me in what is known as an offset head on collision. We were led to believe that the other driver was texting,” he said.
The mandated safety regulations for vehicles in Australia saved Mr Barton’s life.
“Since I became a professional driver [in 1989] 12,343 people have been killed on Victoria’s roads, and many, many more injured.
“The excellent toward zero program has cut lives lost and achieved a record low of 214 deaths last year, down 17 percent on the previous year,” he said.
Mr Barton told the legislative council there was a growing need to expand Victoria’s public transport infrastructure and make it more accessible and desirable.
“We need to get distracted drivers off our roads and into public transport,” he said.
“What can a government offer to entice people onto public transport? That is the challenge and I believe I have a great deal to contribute on this front.”