Almost half of people who admitted to using a mobile phone while driving were using apps, according to a new study.

The findings from the Transport Accident Commission’s (TAC) latest Road Safety Monitor, a survey of 2,492 Victorians, revealed 52 percent of respondents used a mobile phone in their hands while driving and, of those people, a majority – 45 percent – were interacting with an app.

A quarter of respondents who reported hand-held mobile phone use said they ‘made or received a call’ or ‘sent or read a text message.’

Respondents also reported using apps behind the wheel at a higher frequency, with just over a quarter admitting to doing so ‘sometimes’ or ‘most of the time’, nearly three times more often than making or receiving a call.

TAC Chief Executive Officer Tracey Slatter said the risks of driving while distracted were indisputable, and it was concerning that so many people were still picking up their phone while driving.

“We’ve seen a devastating increase to the number of people killed on our roads and each one of those deaths was avoidable, we need people to put the phone away and play their part in making our roads safe,” said Ms Slatter.

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • Approximately 98 percent of respondents said they always wore a seatbelt when driving, a slight increase from last year, while around 96 percent said they always buckled up as a passenger, a slight decrease from 2022.
  • Three percent of respondents reported drink-driving when above the legal limit – down from four percent last year and a continued reduction from six percent in 2016.
  • 26 percent of respondents said they had deliberately exceeded the speed limit by 10km/h or more, while 64 percent had done so by 3 km/h or more.
  • Less than one percent of respondents said that they had driven after using illegal drugs.