Media Release

Following the announcement of the Palaszczuk Government’s focus on the dangers of driver distraction and improving road safety for all Queenslanders, the Taxi of Council Queensland (TCQ) is calling for stronger action to deal with drivers in the personalised transport sector who use mobile phones while driving.

In 2017, 248 fatalities occurred on Queensland roads with 27 attributed to driver distraction such as the use of electronic and mobile devices while driving. These figures only reflect the worst-case scenarios and they don’t paint the full picture of the many pedestrians and road users injured by vehicles driven by distracted drivers.

Queensland taxis are equipped with purpose designed and built, high-tech mobile dispatch terminals (MDTs). MDTs are fixed in positions where they do not obstruct the driver’s vision and taxi drivers are trained in how to safely interact with MDTs without them causing distraction.

In comparison, booked-hire drivers rely solely on ordinary smartphones to receive jobs, find customers and interact with their platform provider. Booked ride drivers are consequently under enormous commercial pressure to interact with their phones, much of the time being while they are driving.

TCQ CEO, Blair Davies said the personal injuries and lives lost because of distracted drivers may be a reality but that doesn’t mean as a community we should be accepting it.

“It’s not OK to crash into someone because you were busy with your mobile phone,” said Mr Davies. “With the flood of booked-hire vehicles operating on Queensland roads, the problem of driver distraction is only going to get worse if the State Government doesn’t act and act quickly.

“While some booked-hire drivers may use hands free technology, more needs to be done by the Government to stop those who flout the laws and use mobile phones while driving. It’s time that we call out driver distraction from mobile phones for what it is, completely unacceptable and irresponsible risk taking resulting in Queenslanders needlessly dying or suffering serious injuries.”

It is illegal for any driver to use mobile devices in hand while the vehicle is in motion or stationary with the engine on, yet 75 per cent of Queensland drivers admit to doing so.

Mr Davies says a level playing field for all drivers in the personalised transport sector is key to ensuring passengers have access to safe and reliable transport. There should be zero tolerance for booked-hire drivers and taxi drivers misusing their mobile phones while driving.

“Safety is a top priority for the taxi industry,” said Mr Davies.

“Our purpose designed MDTs and the training we provide to taxi drivers to use them is our investment in our drivers’ and passengers’ safety.

“We have no issues with competitors that operate within the personalised transport sector, but they should be held to the same standards as taxis when public safety is at risk.

“There is always the opportunity for the sector to improve the safety of all Queenslanders on the road and TCQ will look to work closely with the State Government, QPS and regulators to ensure we have safer roads for all.”