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Police target driver distractions in latest road safety blitz

Lachlan Roberts 13 September 2019 5
driver looking at phone

Over 400 people have been caught using their phones while driving in the ACT in the first seven months of 2019. File photo.

Two motorists have been caught using their mobile phones while driving in the nation’s capital every day in 2019, prompting police to again urge drivers to put down their phones while behind the wheel.

ACT Policing said 448 traffic infringement notices were issued for driving while using a mobile phone between 1 January and 31 July this year.

It is fewer than the 604 traffic infringement notices that were issued during the first seven months of 2018, but ACT Policing said it is still concerned too many motorists are being caught using a mobile phone while driving.

Officer in Charge of Traffic Operations, Detective Acting Station Sergeant Marcus Boorman said he was astounded by the number of people using a mobile phone while driving.

“In seven months, police issued more than two traffic infringement notices for using a mobile phone while driving every single day, and it’s not good enough,” Detective Acting Station Sergeant Boorman said.

“Think about reading a text message: it only takes a matter of seconds but those are seconds your eyes are not on the road, and in that time a distracted driver can cause a serious collision.

“In the three seconds it takes to read a text or social media post, a vehicle going 60 kilometres per hour travels about 50 metres and can cause irreparable damage to those around you.”

This month, police are targeting mobile phone offences, as well as other driver distractions as part of the 2018-19 Road Safety Calendar.

Detective Acting Station Sergeant Boorman said using a mobile phone, driving with headphones in, tuning the radio, managing children or applying makeup were all distractions that can take a driver’s attention off the road.

“Whether it’s being distracted by a mobile phone, a pet in the car or having your view obstructed, driving while distracted is a serious offence, and it’s one that road users need to take more seriously before they injure or kill someone,” Detective Acting Station Sergeant Boorman said.

“We have seen some people putting on makeup and we have seen some reading a book. We need to be serious about driving and we need to concentrate.

“You wouldn’t drive around blindfolded so just pay attention.”

ACT Policing fines for driver distraction offences range from $146 to $548 and the loss of up to four demerit points:

  • Driving while using a handheld mobile phone – $470
  • Driving with a distracting TV or video display unit – $245
  • Driving without a clear view – $200
  • Driving with a passenger obstructing the driver’s view – $200
  • Driving a vehicle with a person or animal in lap – $200
  • Driving without proper control of the vehicle – $292
  • Driving while using a mobile phone for messaging, social networking, a mobile application or accessing the internet – $577.

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5 Responses to
Police target driver distractions in latest road safety blitz
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Peter Tilbrook 5:24 pm 15 Sep 19

Driving a vehicle with a person or animal in lap – $200 surely a seatbelt offence too (person) and would be a higher penalty?

12:42 pm 14 Sep 19

Sam Rouse-this will include playing with your music, be careful

11:04 am 14 Sep 19

Not enough drivers are being caught using phones while driving, because too many are still doing it.

9:57 am 14 Sep 19

About time.

9:08 am 14 Sep 19

Good, it's what many of you need.

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