IT’S not okay to use mobile phones when stopped at traffic lights. Describing it as a “common misconception”, the officer in charge of Traffic Operations, Marcus Boorman, says: “You need to find a safe place to pull over and park before you can use your phone.”
Station Sergeant Boorman was announcing that police will target driver distraction this month.
“Driver distraction is any action that takes a driver’s attention away from the road. This includes using mobile phones, setting vehicle controls such as music or air-conditioning, eating or drinking and managing children, passengers or pets in the car,” he says.
In the ACT, the most common offence related to driver distraction is mobile phone use. So far this year (January-April), police have issued more than 500 Traffic Infringement Notices and more than 170 cautions for using a mobile phones while driving.
More than 80 of the infringement notices were for the new offence of driving using mobile phone for messaging, social networking, mobile application or accessing the internet, which came into effect in September.
“As police, we often hear excuses from drivers who were using a mobile phone while driving. There is simply no excuse. Be it for maps, music or email, using your phone will take your attention from the road and put you and every other road user at serious risk. Whatever the reason, it can wait until you pull over and stop.” he says.
“Taking your attention off the road, even for a few seconds can have disastrous consequences. If a driver travelling in an 80km/h zone takes their eyes off the road for three seconds, they’ll travel over 60 metres effectively blindfolded and unable to adequately respond to the events happening on the road around them.”