Police anger at mobile madness
Snapped: A driver using a mobile. Picture: The West Australian

Frustrated police have blasted the "disturbing" number of WA drivers using mobile phones as police statistics and an investigation by The West Australian revealed many motorists continue to flout the law and put lives at risk.

Senior traffic officers yesterday expressed despair that the dangerous practice appeared to continue unabated, despite repeated warnings about the dangers and a crackdown that resulted in almost 150 drivers being caught over Easter.

PICTURE GALLERY

One officer on a motorcycle nabbed 30 offenders using their phones while behind the wheel in one day after WA Police kicked off their Easter traffic blitz on Wednesday. Another caught 25 drivers.

The West Australian spent several hours over the past week monitoring Perth intersections and observed dozens of drivers risking their lives and others.

Our photographers captured 25 drivers using phones in full view and dozens of others appeared distracted by something out of sight in their laps, likely to be a mobile phone.

After a deadly long weekend when WA had the highest Easter road toll in the country, Commander Alf Fordham said it was "unbelievable" police caught 148 people using phones while driving after the huge attention given to the issue in the past couple of weeks.

"It is easy to blame young people for a lot of these types of behaviours, except it might be a truck driver who's 45. It is across the community," Cdr Fordham said.

"For some reason in West Australia we think we are not going to get hurt on our roads and, as we have already heard, we have got the worst statistics this Easter.

"The attitude of drivers in WA needs to change."

Preliminary police statistics from the Easter break show 274 people were caught not wearing a seatbelt, 2481 were speeding and 64 vehicles were impounded from hoons and for other offences.

Of the 40,716 random breath tests, 94 resulted in a drink-driving offence.

Cdr Fordham said police threw all the resources they could at keeping motorists safe over Easter but they could only do so much.

"We hand out infringements where we can, we've arrested where we can, we've made our presence as bold and as obvious as we possibly can," he said.

"If people don't get the message, we can't sit beside every driver on the road."

He said police were "fairly confident" driver behaviour played a significant role in all five fatal Easter crashes on WA country roads.

"I'm not saying that every one of them was avoidable but the consequences could have been different if driver behaviour had been different," he said.

"We want people to look at what's happened, learn some lessons and drive carefully this Anzac long weekend."

The West Australian

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