Embargoed to 11:00 AM Thursday 20 December 2001

PCA Congratulates Telstra on ďDrive Safe.Phone SafeĒ Education and Awareness Campaign

The Chairman of the PCA, Mr Harold Scruby, today congratulated Telstra on the launch of its ďDrive Safe.Phone SafeĒ Mobile Phone Education and Awareness campaign.

Mr Scruby said: ďThe illegal use of hand-held mobile phones while driving is extremely dangerous and has reached plague proportions throughout Australia. This has occurred for a number of reasons: enforcement is rare, penalties are relatively low and do not serve as a deterrent and education and awareness has been virtually non-existent.

ďTelstra has taken a bold, but community-minded step in being the first major mobile-phone carrier to do something about the problem and they should be congratulated for their initiative. It has been proven beyond doubt that using these devices while driving risks lives and limbs. It is also abundantly clear that the methods used to overcome this Australia-wide problem are not working.

ďThe current laws act as no deterrent. It is indeed extraordinary and utterly anomalous, that in most states there are three demerit points (up to six during holiday periods in some states) for failing to fasten oneís seat-belt (an offence which only compromises the safety of the perpetrator) and yet in all states except WA (1 demerit point for the offence) there are no demerit points for this extremely dangerous behaviour which can easily compromise the safety of many motorists and pedestrians alike. To add insult to injury, the monetary penalty in most states averages a little over $100, less than some parking fines. Is it any wonder so many drivers are prepared to risk the fine and why the police rarely enforce it?

ďFollowing the campaign, we will be calling on all state Ministers for Roads and Transport to review the monetary and demerit point penalties for this offence and all state Ministers for Police to start enforcing the law. If we are really serious about reducing our horrific road-toll, all drivers must have absolute and unfettered attention to their driving at all times.

ďAnd pedestrians must be aware too that it can be equally as dangerous to cross the road while using a mobile phone. Failing to concentrate while walking on the road and the results can be just as fatal.

ďCongratulations Telstra. Lives will be saved by this campaign,Ē Mr Scruby said.

Contact: Harold Scruby CEO/Chairman: (0418) 110-011 or (02) 9968-4555


Phone Safe Drive Safe launch speech - David Thodey

20 December 2001
Phone Safe Drive Safe launch speech
David Thodey
Group Managing Director Ė Telstra OnAir

Phone Safe Drive Safe launch speech
David Thodey
Group Managing Director Ė Telstra OnAir

Welcome ladies and gentlemen and thanks for attending.

My name is David Thodey and Iím the Group Managing Director of Telstraís mobile phone division, Telstra OnAir.

This morning Iím pleased to announce an important Telstra road safety campaign with a difference.

I say itís a campaign with a difference because when people think of road safety, the first issues that come to mind are fatigue, drink driving and speeding.

From Telstraís perspective, there is an important factor missing from this equation. Picking up your mobile phone when youíre behind the wheel can distract your attention away from the road. Itís also illegal in every State and Territory in Australia.

Similarly, if you are walking down the street and youíre paying more attention to your mobile than your surroundings, you are putting your well-being at risk.

Unfortunately, some road users continue to use their mobile phone in an irresponsible manner. Thatís why as the industry leader, Telstra is making mobile phone safety a priority for the entire mobile phone sector.

Today, Iím pleased to announce a number of initiatives Telstra has undertaken to help educate consumers about the safe use of mobile phones on our roads.

Firstly, Iíll release the results of a Telstra study of mobile phone usage in motor vehicles. I will then outline our community awareness campaign called Drive Safe-Phone Safe, which kicks off today.

Letís take a look at the study.

Telstra recently surveyed 400 of our customers on their mobile phone usage in their vehicles.

The study examined a range of issues including:

∑ Whether people used handheld phones or had hands-free devices fitted in their vehicles;

∑ The frequency of in-vehicle phone use;

∑ The perceived effects mobile phone use had on their driving and;

∑ Awareness of the laws banning the use of handheld mobiles phones in motor vehicles.

Some interesting findings were uncovered, including:

∑ 35percent said mobile phone use on our roads was a major safety problem. A further 40percent said it was a moderate problem.

∑ Half said using your mobile phone in a motor vehicle reduced road concentration.

∑ Eight percent said they had almost had an accident while using their phone in their vehicle.

∑ Almost a third of all mobile users, used their hand-held while driving to make or receive calls.

∑ About 40percent of drivers donít stop the vehicle before making or receiving a call.

∑ More than a third of drivers made calls at least once a week and almost half receive calls while driving.

∑ One in five motorists send SMS messages while driving a motor vehicle.

A summary of the survey is available in your packs.

The survey reinforces the need for greater community awareness of this issue.

This should not be the sole responsibility of road safety organisations or police who do a terrific job on our roads.

The mobile phone industry must also play an integral role in delivering a strong safety message to millions of its customers.

The survey clearly shows people are taking unnecessary risks by using their mobile behind the wheel.

It confirms that people believe mobile phone use behind the wheel does effect concentration and can cause accidents.

Thatís why Telstra is determined to ensure safety is the most important call motorists make in their vehicles.

We want people to enjoy the huge benefits such as safety, convenience and connectivity, mobile phones deliver.

But we do not want them to be an unnecessary distraction on our roads.

Many of you may be asking yourselves why Telstra is tackling this issue.

Telstra has the largest base of mobile phone customers in Australia Ė 5.4 million people.

So when it comes to responsible driving by mobile phone users, this is a leadership role we take very seriously.

Approximately 65percent of Australians now own a mobile phone and there are 11 million handsets Australia.

Itís anticipated that approximately 85percent Australians will be mobile phone users by 2005 Ė an amazing growth story.

Using your mobile phone responsibly is up to each individual.

Telstra can help spread the safety message by providing our customers with the right information.

We cannot stop people using their mobiles in their vehicles but we can raise awareness about the laws and risks.

Thatís why weíve devoted resources to developing the Drive Safe-Phone Safe campaign, which Iím also announcing today

Drive Safe-Phone Safe is underpinned by several initiatives to help people reduce the mobile phone risk on the roads.

Firstly, community service advertisements will be broadcast on radio and television over the Christmas-New Year period.

Take a look at the video screen.


As youíve seen, the advertisement has a humorous tone underpinned by a serious message.

The risks associated with using a handheld phone in a motor vehicle are clearly defined through this advertisement.

Your lack of concentration can endanger yourself and other road users. You too could end up on the wrong side of the road or up on a footpath if you allow a mobile phone to distract you.

We will also be running print media advertisements over the same period to reinforce our key messages.

As you can see (point to poster) the print advertisement uses an SMS message to portray the road safety issue. One missed stop sign could be the consequence of a telephone conversation that could have waited.

Secondly, customer brochures are now available from Telstra Shops around Australia.

The brochure, which is included in your information packs, provides customers with important safety tips regarding mobile phone usage in motor vehicles.

When driving on our roads itís better to miss a call than miss a road sign so we are urging motorists to remember these tips:

∑ When behind the wheel, never use a hand held phone. Itís unsafe and illegal in every Australian state and territory.

∑ If your phone rings, allow the call to divert to MessageBank.

∑ You should avoid all telephone conversations in your vehicle unless necessary.

∑ Stop in a safe place if you need to make a call or retrieve a message. Donít stop where you pose a hazard for other vehicles or pedestrians.

∑ If you must use your mobile in your vehicle use a handsfree device and avoid lengthy conversations Ė it can distract your attention away from the road.

∑ Dial the phone when the car is not in motion if you need to use a handsfree device.

∑ Never takes notes, write down messages or send SMS messages while driving.

∑ Pull off the road to a safe spot or tell the person you will contact them later.

Thirdly, Telstra is working with handset manufacturers to discount the price of personal hands-free devices in our Telstra Shops.

In the first instance, Ericsson has kindly agreed to reduce its price as have the Telstra shops.

While itís important to note that handsfree devices donít provide a total safety solution, they do reduce the risk and allow you to comply with the law. However we are urging those with handsfree that must make a call to keep it to a minimum to avoid distractions.

Fourthly, Telstra wants to ensure the mobile phone safety message is kept alive for the long term.

Today Iím pleased to announce Telstra has agreed to contribute significant resources to a major international study on the relationship between mobile phone usage and motor vehicle accidents.

The University of Western Australiaís Injury Research Centre will conduct the study, which will substantially bolster the research available on this subject.

While Telstra has undertaken its own research, we firmly believe a closer examination of this issue is required so the mobile phone industry as a whole can develop strategies to assist our customers in using their mobile phones safely and responsibly.

It demonstrates our long-term commitment to this campaign and our commitment to improving the safety of our customers and all road users.

In conclusion, I would like to thank the Australian Automobile Associationís Lachlan McIntosh and the Pedestrian Council of Australiaís Harold Scruby for their support and advice.

I would also like to thank Ericsson for their contribution and Susie OíNeil who has lent her support to the campaign but unfortunately could not be here today.

The message Telstra wants to leave with mobile phone users and motorists is simple Ė safety must be your most important call.

So remember to use your phone responsibly in your motor vehicle and if youíre a pedestrian, walk and talk with care.

Itís not worth putting the safety of yourself or other road users at risk for the sake of a telephone conversation that can wait or you can pull over to side of the road to continue.

Thank-you for attending and I now invite Lachlan McIntosh to say a few words.