Drivers' use of hand-held mobile phones in Western Australia

Tim Horberry, Cathy Bubnich, Laurence Hartley, Dave Lamble

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41 Citations (Scopus)


Using a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving has been linked to an increased risk of being involved in a road crash. Little research, however, has been done on actual road exposure rates to this potential safety problem. The main aim of this study was therefore to establish the number of drivers who use hand-held mobile phones while driving, and to discover if this number had increased as compared to similar observations obtained one year earlier. 40 roadside observations were made at major roads during daylight hours. On average approximately 1.5% of all vehicle drivers were observed using hand-held mobile phones. No significant difference was found between the percentage of drivers observed to be using phones in an earlier study and this current study. In addition, separate observations were undertaken at four sites at four periods of the 'normal' working day to establish if a possible time of day effect existed. The data found that the level of mobile phone use did not significantly differ during the day, however, as a percentage of vehicle flow, the highest use period was between 11.00 and 12.00. Finally, for the same four sites, supplementary measures were taken to establish personal characteristics of the phone users. It was found that phone users were predominantly male (78%) and less than 40-years old (64%).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-218
Number of pages6
JournalTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001


  • Driver characteristics
  • Mobile phone
  • Observations
  • Western Australia

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