On 1 August 2019, the road rules were amended in the Northern Territory. To find out more, go to the 2019 NT road rule changes campaign page.

Driver or rider distraction is a serious road safety issue and can trigger a fatal chain of events. A distracted driver has trouble judging speed and distance and has slow reflexes.

A split second is all it takes to lose control. Using a mobile phone, changing the music or talking to passengers when driving could all cause the driver to look away from the road.

Taking your eyes off the road for two seconds when driving at 50km/h, means you travel for 27 metres blind. The average person’s reaction time to an event is 1.8 seconds. This means that up to four seconds can pass before the distracted driver can react.

Although we don't know how many crashes in the NT involve distracted drivers, the research says a distracted driver has four times the risk of crashing.

Current initiatives

  • speeding, mobile phone and road rule enforcement campaigns
  • safe driving awareness campaigns
  • school and community road safety education programs
  • MACC Drive 2 conditions campaign.

What you can do

  • stay focused and expect the unexpected
  • turn off your mobile phone, even if it is hands free
  • if you need to use a phone make sure it is secured in a commercially designed mount fixed to the vehicle
  • do not use or look at a visual display unit unless it is secured in a mounting to the vehicle, eg navigation or dispatch system
  • make adjustments to your radio or CD player before you start driving
  • check on a map or set your navigation system to where you are going before you leave
  • ensure that your vehicle's windscreens, mirrors and windows are clean and unobstructed
  • ensure pets are correctly restrained by using a secured carry box or a pet seatbelt
  • take a break and pull over rather than eating, drinking, smoking or grooming when you're driving
  • plan activities to keep your children happy and quiet.

Relevant Towards Zero Road Safety Action Plan 2018-2022 actions

 ActionsYearLeadSupportSafe System
4.1 Increase penalties for mobile phone use to align with other Australian jurisdictions. 1 DIPL Police Safe road use
4.4 Deliver a driver distraction awareness campaign, aligned with Police enforcement. 1-2 MACC DIPL/Police Safe road use


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