A mother who was talking on her mobile phone while pushing a pram was stopped by a policeman and given a $250 fine under laws to prevent drivers endangering lives.
The bizarre incident more than a year ago left a black mark next to the officer's name because senior police withdrew the infringement and apologised 24 hours after it was issued.
_The West Australian _ understands a senior constable with the Peel traffic office issued the penalty, which also carries three demerit points, after he spotted the woman talking on a mobile phone as she pushed her baby in a pram along a Mandurah footpath in April last year.
Police recognised problems with the infringement and the officer in charge of Peel traffic apologised to the woman.
Insp. Bill Munnee said yesterday the infringement was cancelled and the woman had accepted the supervising officer's apology.
"The officer concerned had misinterpreted the law involved regarding the definition of a vehicle," he said.
"No training issue was identified and he should have known better."
It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving a vehicle in WA.
Under the Road Traffic Code regulations, bicycles are also regarded as vehicles. Drivers or riders are prohibited from using mobile phones while a vehicle is stationary but not parked.
Insp. Munnee said the officer was "provided guidance and the matter was adversely recorded on his performance file".
WA Police handed out 11,704 infringements for mobile phone use in 2010, with the number falling to 9387 last year.
The Office of Road Safety says research shows that using a mobile phone while driving increases the risk of a crash up to four times.
A national survey by insurer SGIO this year found 70 per cent of WA motorists texted and read emails or messages while driving.
It also found one in five drivers tweeted messages or updated their Facebook status behind the wheel. Did you know? 9387 Infringements were handed to drivers in WA for mobile phone use last year