Police urge drivers to put down their phones as Traffic Focus shifts to driver distraction

Driver distraction

ACT Policing are concerned too many motorists are still being caught using a mobile phone while driving.

Police are targeting mobile phone offences as well as other types of driver distraction throughout September as part of the 2018-19 Road Safety Calendar.

Driver distraction is any action that takes a driver's attention away from the road and onto other elements in their environment, such as using a mobile phone, driving with headphones in, tuning your radio, managing children or pets on board, or applying make-up.

ACT Policing issued 448 Traffic Infringement Notices (TINs) for driving while using a mobile phone between 1 January and 31 July this year.

While the number of TINs issued this year represents a drop on 2018 figures from the same period (604 TINs issued), Officer in Charge of Traffic Operations, Detective Acting Station Sergeant Marcus Boorman said he was still astounded by the number of people using a mobile phone while driving.   

“In seven months, police issued more than two TINs for using a mobile phone while driving every, single day, and it’s not good enough,” Detective Acting Station Sergeant Boorman said.

“Think about reading a text message – it only takes a matter of seconds, but those are seconds your eyes are not on the road, and in that time a distracted driver can cause a serious collision.

“In the three seconds it takes to read a text or social media post, a vehicle going 60km/h travels about 50 metres, and can cause irreparable damage to those around you.

“Whether it’s being distracted by a mobile phone, a pet in the car or having your view obstructed, driving while distracted is a serious offence, and it’s one that road users need to take more seriously before they injure or kill someone.”

This campaign forms part of the joint ACT Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 which prioritises a Vision Zero approach to road safety.

Throughout the year, the multi-agency road safety strategy targets specific issues and behaviours which contribute to death and serious injuries on Canberra's roads, with driver distraction among those concerns.

Media enquiries

Police Media — (02) 5126 9070, act-police-media@afp.gov.au