ACT Police have sent a clear message about using your mobile phone while driving, with 48 infringement notices given to drivers using their mobile phones in 48 hours this week.
Twelve of these drivers were caught by one officer, largely at traffic lights, in just over two hours.
The blitz follows police cautioning 100 drivers using bus lanes within a 30-minute period, also this week.
Officer-in-Charge of Traffic Operations, Detective Acting Station Sergeant Marcus Boorman said the message about using mobile phones while driving is not getting through.
“Sometimes I wonder why the mobile phone safety message is so hard for people to understand,” Detective Acting Station Sergeant Boorman said.
“Illegally using your phone when behind the wheel, even while stopped at the lights, is dangerous.
“It is a distraction that takes your attention away from the road. You’re not just putting yourself at risk, but other drivers may be affected by your behaviour.
“Motorists breaking any road rules should expect to be caught. There’s nothing new about it, and we’ll continue to fine drivers who do the wrong thing.”
A driver who wishes to use a mobile phone while in their vehicle must remember it is illegal to do so unless the phone is in an approved cradle.
If hands-free mode is used, the mobile must not be held by the driver at any time. Further restrictions apply for learner and probationary licence holders.
From 1 July this year, learner permit and provisional licence drivers were banned from using any kind of mobile device when behind the wheel, including hands-free arrangements.
L-plate and P-plate drivers in Canberra were also recently surveyed by the University of Canberra.
An estimated three in four young Canberrans surveyed said they had read one text message while driving, while more than half had sent at least one text message. Other young people surveyed reported using their mobile phones while driving in other ways, including for GPS navigation (61 per cent) and social media (21.2 per cent).
Driving while using a handheld mobile phone also topped the most common offence list related to driver distraction, according to ACT Policing.
Driver distraction is any action that takes a driver’s attention away from the road or impacts their driving ability. This includes using a mobile phone, driving with headphones, tuning your radio, managing children or pets on board, or even applying make-up.
Last year, a national survey carried out on behalf of Suncorp revealed that almost half of ACT and NSW motorists have had a near-miss because they were distracted while driving, with 15 per cent of respondents actually causing an accident due to distractions.
Victoria has the highest fine in Australia for mobile phone use while driving. The fine for using your mobile while driving in the ACT will cost you $470 and the loss of three demerit points.