By Michael Giles

DO THIS simple thing, over the summer holidays, and we’ll all be a lot safer on the roads.
Give the phone the flick!
Especially if you are going to be driving in the car on your own, turn your mobile phone off, and put it in the glovebox.
It’s simply too much of a temptation to have it sitting there on the seat next to you, or in your console, not to answer it, or heaven forbid, to start texting while you drive.
The problem is that we have become so used to responding to the impulse to text or flick through our Facebook posts while sitting on the couch at home, while out with friends or at work that we simply can’t resist doing the same thing while driving.
But the practice is killing us.
The road toll is up 15 per cent in 2016 compared to last year and distractions, together with the increasing use of illicit drugs while driving, are the main factors.
But we can all do something about the number one distraction – the mobile phone.
Bass Coast Highway Patrol Sergeant Allan Piening said this week that officers have noticed a distinct increase in the number of people using their phones while driving, seeing them weave across on to the wrong side or off into the dirt, clearly distracted.
Allan and his team are keen to issue the $466 on-the-spot-fine and four demerit-point penalty (ouch!) that goes with such offences because they have seen the heinous outcomes of drivers who became distracted at 100km/h.
Don’t do it!
Admit to yourself that you haven’t got the self-control to stop using your phone and turn it off while driving.

Best year for road safety
Also on the issue of road safety, the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) and other authorities should consider using 2013, and not the previous year, as the base year when comparing ‘year to date’ fatality figures.
Unfortunately, with a rise of 15 per cent in the number of road deaths this year, 2016 is not going to be a good year for comparisons.
While TAC has adopted the ‘Towards Zero’ theme as a worthy aim, we should be trying to beat the 2013 figure of 238 fatalities as good a first step.
This summer, and through into 2017, make a conscious effort to be patient, courteous, alert, careful and law-abiding on the road – it’s an area where we could all do with some improvement.