December 30, 2008 - 9:28AM
Hi-tech gadgets are distracting drivers and causing accidents, authorities in Queensland say.
In-car DVDs, GPS navigators and iPods have joined mobile phones as modern conveniences which could take drivers' attention off the road, with fatal results.
"More than 26,000 motorists in Queensland were fined for using hand-held mobile phones while behind the wheel in the past 12 months - but mobile phones are no longer the only devices distracting drivers," said Transport Minister John Mickel.
"Mobile phones and MP3 players should either be placed in a cradle or stored to ensure they don't slide around the vehicle's interior, while GPS navigators also need to be placed in a position that does not obscure the driver's view of the road," Mr Mickel said.
Research shows that using a mobile phone while driving means a person is four times more likely to crash.
Mr Mickel said good trip planning and preparation should include setting playlists and GPS travel routes before starting out, and the use of voicemail to collect phone messages during breaks.