Could 'texting bays' help save lives on NSW highways?

18th April 2017 10:55 AM
Texting while driving. Photo: Warren Lynam / Sunshine Coast Daily Texting while driving. Photo: Warren Lynam / Sunshine Coast Daily Warren Lynam

TOO often we're reporting on fatalities and major accidents on our roads. Too often poor concentration due to distractions such as texting are to blame.

Could 'texting bays' be the answer to help save lives on NSW highways?

It's an idea already being rolled out in one Australian stateIn an Australian first, texting bays are being rolled out in Western Australia to enable people to respond to the compulsion to check their messages.

The trial involves five texting bays identified by electronic signs along the Forrest and South Western highways. Some of the off-road parking areas are situated next to Driver Reviver sites while others are being used exclusively for texting.

"It's a siding on the side of the road that gives people the opportunity to get out of the traffic flow, get off the road, to park lawfully and then enable them to respond to what is a compulsion that people often feel in regard to checking their text message," Western Australian Road Safety Commissioner Kim Papalia said.

"There is a clear message that the text can wait until it is safe to check it ... we do recognise that texting is an issue in this state and we're taking active steps to see how we can mitigate that.

"This is recognition of behaviour and how you can positively influence better outcomes in terms of behaviour."

Reader poll

Should NSW trial texting bays on highways?

This poll ended on 01 May 2017.

Yes. People will be less tempted to check their phones while driving. - 40%
No. People will still check their phones regardless. - 59%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

The Queensland Government has confirmed it will review the trial to encourage drivers to pull over in order to send and receive text messages.

"We currently have no plans to trial texting bays but will review the results of the WA evaluation once their trial has finished," a Queensland Traffic and Main Roads Department spokeswoman said.

The Daily Examiner has sought comment from the NSW Roads and Maritime Services on whether it has plans for texting bays in New South Wales.

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