Covert police to nab Vic drivers on phones

Benita Kolovos

Police are nabbing more Victorian drivers than ever using their mobiles while at the wheel to text, use social media, take selfies or even watch movies.

It means the force has to resort to covert measures to nab offenders, including stationing plain-clothed police at intersections and on motorbikes during peak hour.

More than 30,000 infringement notices have been issued by police in the last 12 months but Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer believes "millions" of Victorians use their phone while driving.

"Everyone who walks through the CBD or is in vehicles in the CBD see this level of offending - it's everywhere," he told reporters on Monday.

"Some of the behaviour we've seen is just completely gobsmacking, we have people who are taking selfies of themselves with their kids in the back seat, we've got people watching movies, we've got people responding to social media."

Mr Fryer referred to an incident last week which saw a man fined almost $500 for watching a Steven Seagal movie while waiting for the lights to change at a Heidelberg intersection.

The man was one of eight drivers caught using their mobile phones at the intersection within half an hour.

"The idea that you'd be watching a movie of any sort and still continue to drive is just ludicrous," Mr Fryer said.

"We've had a number of occasions where people have been watching movies. I know late last year we had a motorist watching pornographic footage and (was) on another mobile phone ... at the same time."

Mr Fryer said the style of offending has changed from drivers holding a phone to their ear, to holding it in their lap and scrolling, which is harder for police to spot.

He hopes the state government will consider introducing technology to detect texting drivers with red-light-style cameras.

Technology capable of detecting mobile phone use in vehicles is being rolled out in NSW from July 1.