Texting and driving: Mother tells of terrifying close call with driver distracted by mobile phone

Texting and driving: Mother tells of terrifying close call with driver distracted by mobile phone

Texting and driving: Mother tells of terrifying close call with driver distracted by mobile phone

Updated 22 September 2017, 16:25 AEST

A Brisbane mother has recalled the moment that three generations of her family were nearly killed in a head-on crash when a driver distracted by a mobile phone crossed into their lane.

Earlier this week, Nathalie Pallandre was stationary in her car, waiting to turn onto a main road at Eumundi on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

Ms Pallandre's mother and boys aged six and eight were in the car.

She said her life flashed before her eyes as an oncoming car veered across the lane.

"I could see a guy driving a car very, very fast, and he was on his phone.

"If he hadn't looked up at the time he did, we wouldn't be here.

"It was absolutely terrifying.

"I think if we had another tenth of a second we wouldn't be talking right now."

She said there was no doubt that the driver was on his phone.

"He looked up and I saw the fear in his eyes also," she said.

"I hope to goodness that he has learnt a very serious lesson from that, and I'm surprised he didn't actually crash because the turn he had to make in order to miss us was very severe."

Ms Pallandre estimated the driver was travelling about 100 kilometres per hour in an 80km zone.

She said the incident was traumatic and afterwards she was "shaken to beyond measure".

"My boys were crying and screaming and my mum and I were holding hands and bawling, basically," she said.

"It just goes to show that one second of a distraction from a phone or lack of concentration can end in absolute tragedy."

What's the fix?

Queensland's peak motoring body RACQ said, on average, more than 60 people were caught daily using their phone while driving.

The organisation's Joel Tucker said motorists rated texting and driving as the second most dangerous driving behaviour behind drink driving.

"But at the same time, one in 10 admitted to holding a mobile phone while driving," he said.

He said the contradictory, risky behaviour made no sense.

Ms Pallandre was eager for more public awareness about the danger of using a mobile phone while driving.

"We all use our phones ... I just don't think people realise how much we look at them and how easily distracted we are by them.

"I'm so lucky that it didn't end in tragedy, but for so many others I'm sure that isn't the case."

She was also in support of "huge penalties" for drivers caught driving and texting.

But Mr Tucker from RACQ said data showed that increased fines may not be the answer.

"If people don't think they'll get caught, it doesn't matter if we strengthen rules and fines," he said.

"Even if it was a million-dollar fine, if people don't think they can get caught they're not going to obey."

Awareness and reflection

The Brisbane mother detailed the incident on social media in the hope that the other driver would see the post and grasp how his actions had impacted others.

"My mum is a mess, we can't even talk about it," she said.

"I had to drive home from Noosa to Brisbane and I tell you, that drive, I was quite cautious and quite nervous."

Ms Pallandre said since the close call she had reflected on the fragility of life and her unblemished 30-year driving history.

"It's motivated me to be a whole lot more careful because I was minding my own business and you can take every precaution and be as careful a driver as possible, but it just takes that one error and it's all over for everybody," she said.