Mobiles targeted in safety campaign

Mobiles targeted in safety campaign

Mobiles targeted in safety campaign

Police are cracking down on drivers using mobile phones during a special operation to coincide with a new South Australian road safety campaign.

The Motor Accident Commission (MAC) campaign focuses on the dangers of using a mobile phone while behind the wheel.

Police will be undertaking Operation Distraction throughout September, targeting people using their mobile phone while driving a vehicle.

Chief Superintendent Paul Dickson said the number of cautions and infringement notices issued by police for drivers using mobile phones is increasing.

“Life will still go on if you don’t reply to that Facebook or text message,” he said.

“Last year, we issued 13,405 notices to people detected using handheld mobile phones while driving,” he said.

That is more than triple the 4000 mobile phone offences detected in South Australia in 2005.

“We are all aware of the crash risk to drivers distracted by phone calls and texts,” Chief Supt. Dickson said.

“Driving demands all the driver’s attention and trying to manage another task, such as dialling, texting or even just talking on a mobile phone, affects concentration and that impacts on driver behaviour.

“If a driver needs to take sudden evasive action to avoid a crash, those few seconds while eyes are off the road to dial or text can have a bad outcome.”

Minister for Road Safety Jennifer Rankine said mobile phones are integrated into people’s lives, making it hard to accept the dangers of using them while driving.

“Drivers who take their eyes off the road and their hands off the steering wheel, take an enormous risk by not paying attention to what’s happening around them,” she said.

“But taking your eyes off the road for just three seconds - if you are travelling at 60km/h - means that you will travel blind for 50 metres.”

The fine for illegally using a mobile phone while driving is $291 plus $60 for Victims of Crime.