Police target distracted drivers
Plain clothes police photograph potential mobile phone users at an intersection in North Fremantle. Picture: Nic Ellis/ The West Australian

Plain clothes police officers have targeted locations across Perth to nab distracted and dangerous drivers in a new covert traffic operation.

Officers at a location in Mundaring pinged nearly half a dozen drivers within 20 minutes doing the wrong thing behind the wheel of heavy vehicles.

At another intersection in Fremantle marked motorcycle officers could not keep up with the number of car drivers talking on their mobile phones.

Police stopped 22 drivers for using mobile phones, 10 for not wearing a seatbelt and another 10 for other offences.

Acting Supt. Ian Clarke said today’s covert crackdown was part of an ongoing operation targeting inattention on our roads.

“We are trying all different sets of enforcement techniques to try and educate the public against the use of mobile phones and encourage the use of seatbelts,” he said.

The operation used plain clothes officers as spotters at busy intersection who then radioed ahead to marked motorcycle officers waiting to catch the offenders.

“We are utilising plain clothes police officers at the intersections to identify… those vehicles very clearly, those drivers that are doing the wrong thing and what we are doing is having marked vehicles stopping the vehicle further down the road in a safe location," he said.

"We don’t want to clog up the intersections or create traffic congestion in stopping those people but we do want to stop these people.

“We are not ashamed in any way shape or form, we are there to enforce the road rules but we are more importantly there to try and save lives, if we can stop someone from doing the wrong thing if its talking on their mobile phone or not wearing a seatbelt or doing something that is dangerous in a vehicle and we can stop that act then that’s what we are there to do and we’ll do whatever we have to achieve that.”

Of particular concern was the high number of heavy vehicle operators who were either caught without a seatbelt or talking on their phone.

“Probably some of the scariest areas (that we’ve targeted) are areas where we’ve got heavy vehicles operating as well because quite simply the heavy vehicle versus car has a significant impact on the people in that car,” Acting Supt. Clarke said.

“It is part of our job to make the community safe and whilst officers at times get particularly frustrated when they see really blatantly stupid dangerous acts, most of the time they are looking to educate people and talking to people.

“People receive a sanction on occasion which perhaps they are a little bit upset about but what we really hope they do is that they drive away from that sanction and actually think about what they are doing and perhaps they won’t do it again and in the long term stop them from injuring themselves or perhaps worse even maiming or killing someone else,” he said.

The West Australian

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