Mobile phone car accident statistics in Australia

Car accident statistics due to mobile phones in Australia

Published on Thursday, 21 October 2021 at 00:00

Mobile phone car accident statistics in Australia

Matilda Douglas-Henry


In 2021, mobile phones have never been more integrated into our daily lives. As a result, many drivers have become disturbingly accustomed to using their phones while on the road, putting themselves and everyone in their vicinity in danger. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of mobile phone-related car accident statistics in Australia, including:

  1. An overview of mobile phone car accident statistics
  2. Mobile phone car accident statistics by state
  3. Mobile phone car accident statistics by demographic
  4. How to prevent mobile phone car accidents


Mobile phone car accident statistics in Australia: an overview

-        Distraction was recently added to the “fatal four” most common causes of car accidents in Australia, bumping it up to the “fatal five”; the relatively recent prevalence of smartphones played a huge role. Distraction is a contributing factor in 22 per cent of car accidents and an alarming 71 per cent of truck accidents[1].
-        Around 84 per cent of mobile phone owners have a smartphone, which highly increases the risk of distraction for drivers.
-        In all Australian states, it is illegal to use a handheld mobile phone while driving, and illegal to use a hands-free device if it causes the driver to lose control of their vehicle; L and P1 drivers are not allowed to use a device at all.
-        Using a mobile phone while driving means you are four times more likely to crash your car[2].
-        Mobile phones are also a contributing factor in 46 per cent of “near crashes”.
-        If you look at your phone for two seconds while driving at 60 km/h, you travel blind for 33 metres. That means that at 100km/h, looking at your phone would cause you to miss a whopping 55 metres of road.


Mobile phone car accident statistics by state

It is regularly noted by the Australian government that mobile phone car accident statistics are underreported, because it is difficult to determine use in the wake of a fatal or serious accident. What is recorded as around the 10 to 20 per cent mark is likely to be much higher. While it’s hard to access specific state by state data on mobile car accident statistics, we can identify significant trends and patterns that signify the disturbing dependency we have on our phones, even when driving.

A survey consisting of 712 drivers from Victoria and Queensland indicated that 42 per cent of them had used a handheld device while driving, either to call, text, browse, or email. Further, an estimated half of Queensland drivers admit to texting or browsing when behind the wheel[3].

In New South Wales, there have been 202 casualty crashes involving a driver/rider using a mobile phone from 2012 to 2020, which has resulted in 18 deaths and 271 injuries[4]. The Transport Accident Commission in Victoria conducted a survey in 2019 of 1,472 drivers between ages 18 to 60; a third of them said they used devices illegally while driving[5]. In Western Australia, distraction-related car accidents caused 524 deaths or serious injuries between 2016 and 2020[6].


Mobile phone car accident statistics by demographic

It’s unsurprising that young drivers are the biggest culprits of using their mobile phones while driving, which can lead to tragic and serious accidents. The 18 to 24 and 25 to 39 age groups reported the highest use of their mobile phones behind the wheel in Australia, with 94 per cent and 91 per cent respectively[7].


How to prevent mobile phone-related car accidents

In order to avoid mobile phone-related car accidents, it’s simple: do not take your eyes off the road unless your vehicle is stationary. And when it comes to mobile phones, “stationary” does not mean when stopped at a red light. Only look at your phone when you have pulled over, parked, and turned the engine off.

If you are first and foremost a passenger, endeavour to use your driver’s phone on their behalf if it’s a handheld device: answer their texts or calls if it’s urgent. Similarly, don’t let your driver control the hands-free device if it is becoming a distraction, and take the lead yourself.



Looking at your phone while on the road is never worth it. We hope this information has shed some light on the dangers of mobile phone use when driving, and just how much of an issue this is in Australia.



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