Should cars be fitted with special technology to prevent drivers from using mobile phones?

Australian campaign group calls for technology to stop drivers being distracted

A driver uses his phone behind the wheel
(Image credit: Frederic Sierakowski/REX/Shutterstock)

All vehicles should be fitted with special technology to prevent drivers from using phones and other mobile devices in order to protect cyclists, according to a cycling campaign group in Australia.

Bicycle Network, Australia's largest cycling campaign group with more than 50,000 members, has called for the technology to be used after an official report predicted that the number of deaths and serious injuries on the country's roads are set to rise over the next 12 years.

Although the group admits that improvements to roads and vehicles could have a positive impact in lowering mortality and injury rates, it predicts that this could be offset by the increased use of phones, tablets, and other devices behind the wheel and say that the vehicles should be fitted with new technology to prevent their use.

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"As bike riders we can see into cars and what drivers are up to," said Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards.

"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 people’s lives.”

"It's clear that current policing isn't curbing behaviour. It’s unfair to put the burden on the police. We need to take phone use out of the hands of drivers"

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However Bicycle Network's call for new technology looks unlikely to be taken up in Victoria, where state premier Daniel Andrews raised concerns over how preventing people from using their phones would work in emergency situations.

""We have no plans to introduce changes like that," Mr Andrews told the Australian Associated Press.

"That would seem to me a very big step and one that would have a whole range of technical challenges - you know how would you cut out emergency service vehicles for instance, in that sort of a comms ban?"

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Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.