Time to rethink mobile phone penalties?

By 1 February, 2013 82

I was sitting on the bus this afternoon, staring out the window as usual. On my 20 minute commute I spotted three drivers using their mobile phones, hand held, with no hands free kits. One, in a dark blue RAV 4 on Canberra Ave drifted all over the lane, and almost side swiped a car, which the driver of the Rav 4 clearly did not even notice. Then we got stuck behind a freight van being driven by another driver on the mobile.

Day in, day out, without fail, I see drivers on their mobile phones. Clearly whatever fines people are getting are not a deterrent. I don’t know what the fine is in the ACT, or if it even involves demerit points, but clearly it is not enough. I know it is $298 in NSW.

Consider tradies for example. Many of them seem to be constantly on the mobile phone while driving. They might make thousands of dollars from a phone call, so a fine of even a few hundred dollars now and them is no deterrent.

Perhaps a new approach is needed? Perhaps do the same as what is done with other car fines, for repeat offenders, the phone gets confiscated, and more importantly, the phone number. A tradie or anyone else for that matter making money off of a phone number for their business would be in serious inconvenience if their phone number is disconnected, or diverted to a message saying the number has been suspended until a specific date due to illegal use of the phone while driving. That would be a far more serious deterrent.

So, with this in mind, how do I go about getting it enacted as law? Write to my local member? Or have people had better success with other methods?

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82 Responses to Time to rethink mobile phone penalties?
#1
p18:47 am, 01 Feb 13

Over throw the government, appoint yourself leader, abolish the constitution and assume all powers for yourself. It worked for Frank.

#2
Deref8:56 am, 01 Feb 13

Thoroughly agree. There’s no excuse – ever. Hands-free kits are cheap.

Immediate loss of license for 3 months on the first offence.

#3
Leon8:59 am, 01 Feb 13

What makes you think that increasing penalties will solve the problem?

We have more than 240 road rules. Can we seriously expect:
(1) drivers of below average intelligence – and that means almost half of drivers – to remember them all? or
(2) the police to enforce them all?

#4
devils_advocate9:01 am, 01 Feb 13

The monetary fine may not be a significant deterrent but certainly the 6(?) demerit points are.

#5
bundah9:11 am, 01 Feb 13

Our legislators and judiciary are not prepared to take drink and drug driving offences seriously so what chance have we got with mobile phone offences.

#6
Keijidosha9:19 am, 01 Feb 13

I’d take a more practical approach to the problem. Increase the fine by $100 and use that money to provide offenders with a bluetooth handsfree unit. The fine and demerit points still make the driver accountable, and the handsfree unit should prevent (or reduce) future infringements.

#7
RadioVK9:19 am, 01 Feb 13

Deref said :

Thoroughly agree. There’s no excuse – ever. Hands-free kits are cheap.

Immediate loss of license for 3 months on the first offence.

^This^

Unfortunately so many drivers see a license as an optional extra, which would take away from its effectiveness I fear.

Leon said :

What makes you think that increasing penalties will solve the problem?

We have more than 240 road rules. Can we seriously expect:
(1) drivers of below average intelligence – and that means almost half of drivers – to remember them all? or
(2) the police to enforce them all?

(1)- They’re smart enough to work out how to operate a motor vehicle. I’d expect them to at least be able to remember the main ones like not exceeding speed limits, wearing seatbelts, and not using hand held mobile phones while driving. Those that can’t manage this should be removed from the roads.
(2)- Within reason, yes. That’s what they’re paid to do.

#8
Pitchka9:25 am, 01 Feb 13

Handsfree is for losers who cant multi-task.

How hard can it be to rest the phone between your ear and shoulder, whilst taking a sip of your coffee, lighting up a ciggie whilst chaging gears and turning up the radio…

Whinge whinge farken whinge.

#9
Postalgeek9:41 am, 01 Feb 13

I think a suspension of phone number for repeat offenders would be a great kick up the backside, and probably have more impact than a suspension of license.

And no ‘but your honour I need it for work’ defence. Those people put out of action by inattentive drivers also needed to work.

#10
carnardly9:45 am, 01 Feb 13

I ride a bike most places and it’s easy to spot a phoner at a traffic light. When lights are red and you have a few minutes to survey cars from all directions, you can spot the “meercat” folk who do the head up quickly, head down, head up again, quick glance left, quick glance right and you know dead set they’re texting with the phone on their lap.

Just put the bloody thing away folk. I don’t want to be the next organ donor due to you running over me….

#11
Pitchka9:48 am, 01 Feb 13

Postalgeek said :

I think a suspension of phone number for repeat offenders would be a great kick up the backside, and probably have more impact than a suspension of license.

And no ‘but your honour I need it for work’ defence. Those people put out of action by inattentive drivers also needed to work.

Great idea, because they cant just walk into Woolies and grab a $2 sim card, send out an sms to all contacts advising of their new number….

#12
chewy149:53 am, 01 Feb 13

I’m more worried about the people eating a Big Mac, drinking coffee or putting on their makeup.

#13
1337Hax0r9:57 am, 01 Feb 13

Pitchka said :

Postalgeek said :

I think a suspension of phone number for repeat offenders would be a great kick up the backside, and probably have more impact than a suspension of license.

And no ‘but your honour I need it for work’ defence. Those people put out of action by inattentive drivers also needed to work.

Great idea, because they cant just walk into Woolies and grab a $2 sim card, send out an sms to all contacts advising of their new number….

I think updating a Yellow Pages add would be a bit harder than that.
I don’t suppose you use the mobile phone without a hands free when driving by any chance?

#14
shirty_bear10:06 am, 01 Feb 13

Doesn’t matter what the penalty is if there’s no rozzers on the road to enforce it. It’s not small fines making people willing to risk it, it’s the knowledge that they will get away with it.

Human Nature 101 … in the main, it’s not moral fortitude that makes people choose what’s right over what’s convenient, it’s fear of getting caught.

#15
Pitchka10:08 am, 01 Feb 13

1337Hax0r said :

Pitchka said :

Postalgeek said :

I think a suspension of phone number for repeat offenders would be a great kick up the backside, and probably have more impact than a suspension of license.

And no ‘but your honour I need it for work’ defence. Those people put out of action by inattentive drivers also needed to work.

Great idea, because they cant just walk into Woolies and grab a $2 sim card, send out an sms to all contacts advising of their new number….

I think updating a Yellow Pages add would be a bit harder than that.
I don’t suppose you use the mobile phone without a hands free when driving by any chance?

Never heard of call diversion?

And to answer your second question, what part of “How hard can it be to rest the phone between your ear and shoulder, whilst taking a sip of your coffee, lighting up a ciggie whilst chaging gears and turning up the radio…” dont you understand?

Clearly im capable of multitasking, therefore have no need for HF.

#16
FioBla10:22 am, 01 Feb 13

I was using mobile phone because I could only remember 239 road rules.

#17
DrKoresh10:34 am, 01 Feb 13

The distinction between driving on the phone and using a hands-free set in your car is almost purely a legal one. Driving is still fairly heavily impaired whichever you use. Both should be banned or made legal (though I imagine a hands-free driver is a lot harder to spot than one holding a phone), IMO, or else it’s just a waste of time.

#18
bundah10:36 am, 01 Feb 13

Pitchka said :

1337Hax0r said :

Pitchka said :

Postalgeek said :

I think a suspension of phone number for repeat offenders would be a great kick up the backside, and probably have more impact than a suspension of license.

And no ‘but your honour I need it for work’ defence. Those people put out of action by inattentive drivers also needed to work.

Great idea, because they cant just walk into Woolies and grab a $2 sim card, send out an sms to all contacts advising of their new number….

I think updating a Yellow Pages add would be a bit harder than that.
I don’t suppose you use the mobile phone without a hands free when driving by any chance?

Never heard of call diversion?

And to answer your second question, what part of “How hard can it be to rest the phone between your ear and shoulder, whilst taking a sip of your coffee, lighting up a ciggie whilst chaging gears and turning up the radio…” dont you understand?

Clearly im capable of multitasking, therefore have no need for HF.

The problem is that far too many can barely drive let alone talk on the phone or worse still text while driving which is why road rules have to apply to everyone even though we are superior.

#19
p110:56 am, 01 Feb 13

I’d be happy if they made it so talking on the is phone legal, but test messaging attracts summary execution.

#20
Postalgeek11:19 am, 01 Feb 13

Pitchka said :

1337Hax0r said :

Pitchka said :

Postalgeek said :

I think a suspension of phone number for repeat offenders would be a great kick up the backside, and probably have more impact than a suspension of license.

And no ‘but your honour I need it for work’ defence. Those people put out of action by inattentive drivers also needed to work.

Great idea, because they cant just walk into Woolies and grab a $2 sim card, send out an sms to all contacts advising of their new number….

I think updating a Yellow Pages add would be a bit harder than that.
I don’t suppose you use the mobile phone without a hands free when driving by any chance?

Never heard of call diversion?

Suspension = no service = no diversion.

#21
watto2311:57 am, 01 Feb 13

Actually I found it interesting that the fines in Singapore for drink driving are about $30,000 and/or 3 years jail. Talso kill drug smugglers etc. I kind of agree that most fines for serious offences are too small, like excessive speeding over 45kmh, drink driving and inattentive driving. But raising the fines prob won’t fix the situation, those that break the law probably still will and be less likely to be able to pay for them, which leads to other problems.

Maybe we could let the immigrants at detention centres in and put thos who can follow these laws into the detention centre? :-)

#22
GTeam12:17 pm, 01 Feb 13

A little of the topic…but on the way to work this morning saw a ute swerving across a lane and back…stopped at traffic light..proceeded to see guy driving eating a meat pie at the same time!

#23
KeenGolfer12:32 pm, 01 Feb 13

shirty_bear said :

Doesn’t matter what the penalty is if there’s no rozzers on the road to enforce it. It’s not small fines making people willing to risk it, it’s the knowledge that they will get away with it.

The very small RAPID team last financial year issued 4858 traffic infringements and 1172 defect notices. Overall ACT Policing issued 2102 TINs for mobile phones, 722 for no seatbelt, 7935 for speeding etc, did 91429 RBTs and caught 1427 drink drivers. Nah, there’s never any cops on the road.

#24
FioBla12:40 pm, 01 Feb 13

Damn nanny state. It’s not like they’re using the mobile phone while watching a movie at the cinemas.

#25
shirty_bear12:52 pm, 01 Feb 13

KeenGolfer said :

shirty_bear said :

Doesn’t matter what the penalty is if there’s no rozzers on the road to enforce it. It’s not small fines making people willing to risk it, it’s the knowledge that they will get away with it.

The very small RAPID team last financial year issued 4858 traffic infringements and 1172 defect notices. Overall ACT Policing issued 2102 TINs for mobile phones, 722 for no seatbelt, 7935 for speeding etc, did 91429 RBTs and caught 1427 drink drivers. Nah, there’s never any cops on the road.

Ta for the update, Mr Plod. Shouldn’t you be out on patrol somewhere?

Don’t get me wrong, RAPID’s a great start. But RAPID and revenue cameras simply don’t snare – or even scare – the hordes of phone-drivers on the roads.

#26
p11:16 pm, 01 Feb 13

GTeam said :

A little of the topic…but on the way to work this morning saw a ute swerving across a lane and back…stopped at traffic light..proceeded to see guy driving eating a meat pie at the same time!

If you can’t drive and eat a meat pie you have no business owning a ute.

#27
Ben_Dover1:17 pm, 01 Feb 13

How about lopping off the left hand for a first offender?

#28
frontrow1:38 pm, 01 Feb 13

FioBla said :

I was using mobile phone because I could only remember 239 road rules.

239 problems but a phone ain’t one.

#29
GTeam1:56 pm, 01 Feb 13

p1 said :

GTeam said :

A little of the topic…but on the way to work this morning saw a ute swerving across a lane and back…stopped at traffic light..proceeded to see guy driving eating a meat pie at the same time!

If you can’t drive and eat a meat pie you have no business owning a ute.

TOUCHE!!! :)

#30
Martlark2:31 pm, 01 Feb 13

Take the phone off them and get them to pick it up from the local cop shop when the shift ends. Plus a nice fine and some demerit points.

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