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Department of Transport and Main Roads

National roadmap on driver distraction

We have worked with stakeholders to lead a 3-stage effort to understand the problem of driver distraction and co-design solutions.

Driver distraction is a growing contributor to the number of serious injuries and lives lost on our roads.

On average 29 people are killed and 1,284 seriously injured each year on Queensland roads as a result of crashes where driver distraction played a part1. Using a mobile phone illegally while driving is one of the riskiest distractions and is as dangerous as drink driving2. Unfortunately, 70% of Queenslanders admit to having used their mobile phone illegally while driving3.

While it is the driver's decision to use their mobile phone while driving, there are several elements that influence a driver’s decision.

Stage 1 – Driver Distraction Elements

We investigated the system of different elements drivers sit in the centre of which influences their decision to use a phone illegally. These elements include vehicles, devices, telecommunication networks, insurance, employment, enforcement, regulation and social attitudes.

Stage 2 – National Summit on Driver Distraction

We sought to address the issue of driver distraction through a large program of work including the National Summit on Driver Distraction in 2019.

Over 100 stakeholders attended the National Summit to collaborate and design solutions. These ideas were captured in the National Roadmap against 5 strategy areas:

  • Designing for a safer interaction.
  • Mapping out the adoption of in-vehicle distraction mitigation technology.
  • Recognising the vehicle as a workplace.
  • Encouraging greater compliance through enforcement.
  • Changing driver behaviour.

The National Roadmap has since been endorsed by the Infrastructure and Transport Ministers and placed on their program of work.

More information on the systems approach taken during stage 2 and a high-level overview of the programs identified in the Roadmap is available on our Tackling driver distraction in Australia page.

Stage 3 – Implementation of Driver Distraction National Roadmap

We are implementing a selection of relevant initiatives from the Roadmap.

  • An increase to mobile phone penalties which took effect 1 February 2020.
  • We have successfully trialled fixed and portable cameras designed to detect a driver illegally using a mobile phone as well as front-seat occupants failing to wear a seatbelt. From late July 2021, we will roll out the new cameras across Queensland. 
  • Realising the opportunity presented by open data and insurance to positively change driver behaviour.
  • Testing new and emerging technologies, starting with a portable Phone Awareness Monitor which aims to detect a ‘live’ mobile phone signal before triggering an appropriate message encouraging the driver to put their phone down.
  • Investigating the attitudes and behaviours of employees who drive for the purpose of work.

These selections are also included in Queensland’s Road Safety Action Plan 2020 – 2021.

1. Data Analysis, Department of Transport and Main Roads QLD. Fatality data extracted. 15 October 2020 using road casualty statistics 2015-2019.
2. Strayer, D., Drews, F. and Crouch, D. (2006), ‘A comparison of the cell phone driver and the drunk driver.’ Human Factors 48(2): 381-91.
3. Footprints Market Research, Department of Transport and Main Roads QLD, 2018.

Last updated 11 December 2023