AMA calls for ban on learner drivers who drive and text
Learner and probationary drivers should lose their licences for a year if caught texting or using their mobile phones while on the road, Australia's peak medical body warns.
The Australian Medical Association made the call as it released its first position paper on road safety following a horror few weeks on the nation's roads, with 66 people killed in crashes during the holiday period so far.
The AMA wants stricter enforcement of laws covering the use of mobile phones and electronic devices in cars and a "zero tolerance" approach introduced for L-plate and P-plate drivers.
Association president Michael Gannon said mobile telephones and electronic devices, including navigational devices, were distractions for drivers and a major cause of accidents, trauma, and death.
"Your driver's licence is a privilege, not a right," Dr Gannon said.
"Drivers who breach the road rules are putting themselves and others at risk, and must face meaningful sanctions."
Federal Transport Minister Barnaby Joyce flagged a discussion of the issue with his state and territory colleagues.
Mr Joyce was reluctant to back the medical association's proposal to crack down on younger drivers.
"There is already a penalty process in place," he told ABC Radio.
The association also wants laws targeting driver fatigue, one of the top three contributors to Australia's road toll, in a similar fashion to those aimed at drink drivers.