Motorists still distracted by mobile phones
Friday, 27th Oct 2017
Motorists are still not getting the message when it comes to mobile phone use while driving, with offences remaining relatively unchanged in the past five years.
RAA Senior Manager Road Safety Charles Mountain said, on average, 12,363 mobile phone offences are detected each year.
“Motorists are well aware of the risks associated with mobile phone use, yet they continue to put themselves and others at risk by using their phones while driving,” said Mr Mountain.
Outside of Operation Distraction campaigns, SA Police detect an average of 713 mobile phone related offences each month.
This figure more than doubles (125%) in the months when Operation Distraction is run, with 1,607 offences recorded per month.
“Each time SA Police conduct Operation Distraction they highlight the severity of this problem, clearly showing motorists are not getting the message,” said Mr Mountain.
“If Police had the resources to run Operation Distraction throughout the year, we expect we would get a more accurate representation of illegal phone use behind the wheel.”
While additional Police resources would help to address the problem of mobile phone use, RAA is also calling on motorists to take more responsibility for their actions behind the wheel.
“Put the phone out of reach or turn it off - whatever it takes. Motorists need to take action to avoid getting distracted by their mobile phones,” said Mr Mountain.
A 2016 survey of RAA Members found most respondents (99%) felt that texting while driving increased their crash risk, with 87 per cent agreeing talking on a mobile while driving also increased their crash risk.
Despite this, one in five respondents still felt texting or talking on a mobile phone while waiting at a red light was ok.
“Even while stationary at traffic signals, drivers need to be aware of their surroundings, whether that’s being aware of other vehicles when the lights change, or the movement of pedestrians and cyclists,” said Mr Mountain.
The penalty for driving while using a mobile phone is a $327 fine, plus three demerit points.