Victorian drivers’ ring up $14 million phone bill


21 October 2011

Despite copping more than an estimated $14m in fines last year, one-in-five Victorian motorists admit1 to receiving a phone call or a text message (21 percent) while driving.

Bingle spokesperson Melanie Vine said the practice isn’t just costing motorists $244 and three demerit points for each offence; it is also potentially putting lives at risk.

“While the siren song of your beeping mobile can be hard to resist, even while driving, it can be a dangerous and expensive addiction,” Ms Vine said.

“Just one of these fines can significantly add to the cost of motoring, as they represent almost another five percent on top of the average annual cost of keeping a car on the road2.”

Younger drivers are potentially footing a greater percentage of the texting while driving bill. Bingle’s research1 found the younger the driver, the more likely they were to be distracted by their mobile while driving.

“Victorian drivers aged 18-24 were over eight times more likely (at 42 percent) to admit to being distracted by a text message than those aged 50 and over (5 percent),” Ms Vine said.

In the last financial year, 57,908 Victorian motorists were issued a fine ($239 last financial year) for using a mobile phone while driving, adding up to $13,840,0123.

“Motorists need to remember that while a hands-free device can reduce the effort of making and receiving calls, if you lose control of the vehicle at any time while using a mobile phone, it becomes an offence,” Ms Vine said.

“Those who use their smartphone as a GPS also need to be aware the law does not make a distinction for this. If you don’t have a dedicated GPS navigation system, it is best to have a co-pilot use the phone to direct you while you drive.

“Driving safely and avoiding fines, running a fuel efficient car or getting the right insurance for your needs can all make a significant difference to how much it costs to run a car each year.”

Research summary1:

  • About one in five Victorian motorists admit to becoming distracted by text messages or phone calls (21 percent) on their mobile while driving
  • Drivers aged 18-24 (42 percent) are more than eight times more likely to be distracted by a text message than those aged 50 and older (5 percent)
  • Drivers with a GPS are more likely to be distracted by receiving a call (27 percent) than those without (16 percent)
  • Those with a provisional or probationary licence (37 percent) were almost twice as likely as those with a full license (22 percent) to become distracted by text messages on their mobile

1.     This Bingle research was conducted by Newspoll and is based on an independent internet survey of 3,740 Australian drivers, 18 years of age and older, across all states and territories in 2011. Collected data has been weighted in line with current ABS population demographics to ensure any extrapolation of results is representative of age, sex and area.

2.     This section of Bingle’s research was conducted in 2011 by Newspoll and is based on an independent internet survey of 602 Australians across all states and territories.This annual figure includes fuel, service, repairs, registration, insurance, and other costs, such as cleaning, detailing, tyres, parking and tolls.

3.     Based on total fine numbers supplied by Victorian Police and fine amount in 2010-11

For media enquiries or to arrange an interview please contact:

Marcela Balart
Bingle Corporate Affairs Advisor
P: 02 8121 0298
M: 0422 483 371
E: Pty Ltd (ABN 93 121 114 574, AR No. 312546) is an authorised representative of Australian Associated Motor Insurers Limited (ABN 92 004 791 744 AFSL 238173).