An online post has claimed to have spotted undercover police posing as windscreen washers in a bid to catch out drivers on mobile phones.
An image, which has been shared on Reddit shows a man in a hi-vis shirt carrying a squeegee, allegedly taken at the intersection of Springvale Road and Maroondah Highway in Melbourne.
“Undercover cops pretending to be windscreen washers and catching ppl on their phones at the lights,” the post claimed.
One person commented on the post that it was “clever”.
“But you know what if it saves lives, Go for it. The amount of drivers I pass and I see them look down at their phones or worse on them,” the user wrote on reddit.
“It is meant to change the blasé behaviour around touching devices. If you do it at a set of lights, you’re more likely to do it whilst driving,” another person commented.
Victoria Police confirmed a traffic operation was carried out on Monday in Nunawading, east of the CBD, and involved “covert observations of drivers”.
“Forest Hill police officers conducted a traffic operation in Nunawading yesterday targeting distracted drivers,” a statement from Victoria Police said.
“Part of the operation involved covert observations of drivers in stationary vehicles.
“Police issued 38 infringement notices to drivers for using their mobile phone while driving.”
Many online observers agreed it was important to crack down on drivers who use phones illegally when stopped at the lights, with a number sharing stories about what can happen if people aren’t paying attention.
“Was once at a red light with the guy next to me looking down at his phone texting. We were the only cars waiting,” one person wrote.
“I moved slightly forward to better position my car and he mistook that for his cue to go. Foot straight down running through the red light without first checking if it was green.
“He realised his mistake as he flew over the intersection. Lucky no one was around.”
While another claimed they saw a driver “take off at a red light, with their phone still in their hand because someone beeped.”
Some people raised concerns about the tactic though.
“Genuine question, is this also illegal?” one person asked.
News Limited reports that it is alleged the covert police walked toward cars under the guise of washing windows, observed if drivers were using their phones before radioing uniformed officers parked a few hundred metres away who would then approach the driver to hand out a fine.