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Over-stimulated drivers threaten our roads - Survey

New research indicates reliance on stimulants amongst young drivers

Roughly a third of young Australians will rely on stimulants to keep them alert on the roads this long weekend, according to new research.

An independent safety survey commissioned by compensation firm Shine Lawyers has revealed that 31 per cent of Australians aged between 18 and 34 will rely on energy drinks, No Doz or prescription pharmaceuticals to help them stay awake while driving.

But out of the survey of 2,000 people it was males in the 25 to 34 age bracket who would be most likely to take any such substances.

According to the survey, energy drinks where the most popular stimulant with 21 per cent saying they rely on these to help them stay alert while driving.

Alarmingly, there was also a percentage of young males (5 per cent) between 18 and 24 who admitted to relying on prescription pharmaceuticals to stay alert and awake.

Shine Lawyers General Manager Peter Gibson said that following the long weekend it was usual to see an influx in calls from people needing help after experiencing an incident on the road.

“We see a lot of people who have experienced an incident while travelling to their holiday destinations. Threats on the road such as road rage and tailgating are two of the more frequent complaints that we receive calls about after a holiday weekend. There’s also a growing prevalence of road incidents being caused due to people texting while driving,”Mr Gibson said.

Google Maps: A new threat on our roads this weekend

The survey also discovered that nearly 38 per cent of Australian drivers between 18 and 34 still continue to use their mobile phones while driving (without Bluetooth or hands free).

The majority of respondents (35 per cent) admitted that they had used their mobiles to take and make calls.

32 per cent of respondents said that they use their mobile phones to manage maps and GPS while driving.

Responding to and sending texts was the third reason young Australians gave for pulling out the mobile (28 per cent), followed by managing music streaming at 23 per cent.

Shine Lawyers General Manager Peter Gibson also referenced some particularly alarming new trends on the road which had come out of the new research.

“The results showed that 21 per cent of young Australians admitted tousing their phones to check Facebook or social media while driving, which is adisturbing new statistic,” Mr Gibson said.

“Possibly the most alarming was the finding that 21 per cent have also been recently using their phones to take photos or videos while trying to operate their motor vehicle.”

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: April 20, 2016.

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