Police target 'older drivers' in mobile phone crackdown
THERE really is no excuse for any of us to be manually handling a mobile phone while driving.
Most of us are driving sophisticated cars with hands-free systems installed.
If not, Chief Inspector Phillip Brooks of NSW Police's Traffic and Highway Patrol Command said a person can have a mobile phone in an approved cradle and used through the car's Bluetooth system.
"It just escapes me that people who have the right sort of car, are using their mobile phone up to their ear or looking down, sending a text," Inspector Brooks said.
If you need convincing as to how often Sydney metropolitan police catch offenders, you just need to read the numbers. In the last 12 months there has been over 4000 offenders in metro Sydney, 2962 in Parramatta, 1932 in Waterloo and 1188 in Surry Hills.
Only 900 were P-platers; the rest were fully licensed drivers across all ages.
"The younger drivers are acutely aware of the risks associated with using a mobile phone while on our roads," Inspector Brooks.
"It's the older drivers. Potentially it's them that are teaching the younger ones to drive and are the ones presenting the greatest risk upon our roads and that in turn is reflected in the road toll where sadly older drivers are over-represented in road fatality numbers."
Many of the offenders are people in school zones and while working.
The NSW rules are -
- A driver must not hold a phone at all unless a vehicle is legally parked, or they are passing it to a passenger.
- You can only use the phone to make or receive calls, for audio or as a GPS.
- You can't have the phone on your lap, between your neck and shoulder or on any part of your body while talking.
- You can use Blue tooth, use an earpiece and use a cradle but don't hold the phone.
- Texting, video messaging, emailing, using facebook or tweeting are all prohibited.
While the police take a practical approach about the necessity of mobile phones in everyone's life as grandparents dash between after-school caring duties, we manage our families or our work situations, they still want us all to remember, any manual use of a mobile phone while driving is an offence, it can be dangerous and if you are caught, you will be prosecuted.
So, why not put down your phone, pull over to the side of the road to park and use the phone there, or take up driving without your phone in easy reach so that you concentrate on the road instead.