Police have detected more than 1500 drivers using a mobile phone while driving, the highest one-day return during similar operations, and more than 500 driving without wearing a seatbelt, ignoring some of the basic practices while behind the wheel.
Officers from the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command conducted Operation Compliance 4 yesterday (Wednesday 9 September) to target mobile phone use, school zone speeding and seatbelt use.
During the one-day state-wide operation, 1555 drivers were detected using their mobile phones, 1288 were speeding in a school zone and 511 were not wearing a seatbelt while driving.
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Acting Assistant Commissioner David Driver said yesterday’s operation showed an extreme lack of personal responsibility by drivers on NSW roads.
“To have 1555 drivers detected for using a mobile phone whilst driving in one day, the highest during these operations, suggests there are some drivers that take using our roads for granted.
Motorists need to understand that driving is a complex task. Anything that takes your mind or eyes off the road, or your hands off the wheel, not only compromises your safety, but that of everyone else on the road. Being distracted slows down your reaction times and puts you in danger of failing to see traffic lights, stop signs or other road users, including pedestrians and cyclists, increasing the chances of having a crash,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Driver said.
Drivers can only use the navigational, calling or audio functions of a mobile phone while driving if the phone is either:
- Secured in a commercially manufactured and designed mounting that is fixed to the vehicle and doesn’t obscure the driver’s view of the road, or;
- Operated by the driver without touching any part of the phone, through the use of Bluetooth technology or voice activation.
Drivers must not use a mobile phone for any other function, including text messaging, video messaging or emailing while driving. If you want to use these functions, you must be parked in an authorised parking spot with the engine turned off.
“To see 1288 motorists committing offences in school zones, again the highest during these operations, putting the lives of our children, their parents, siblings, school teachers and staff at risk certainly proves that enforcement is vital to address such selfish behaviour,” he said.
During school hours, morning and afternoon, motorists must stick to the 40km/h speed limit in a school zone as children are about and can be unpredictable.
Look out for buses pulling out – watch for wig-wag lights.
Always park and turn legally around schools and avoid dangerous manoeuvres like U-turns and three-point turns.
Always give way to pedestrians particularly when entering and leaving driveways.
Drop off and pick up children on the school side of the road in your school’s designated drop-off and pick-up area. Calling out to them from across the road can be dangerous because they may run to you without checking traffic.
It’s safest for the kids to get out of the car on the kerb side of the road to be away from passing traffic.
“To have 511 motorists detected not wearing a seat belt, a most basic practice when getting into a car, suggests sheer ignorance on the part of those drivers,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Driver said.
Although it has been compulsory to wear seatbelts in New South Wales since 1971, each year on average there are more than 50 people killed and 300 injured who were not wearing seatbelts. These deaths and injuries could have possibly been prevented if seatbelts had been used.
“These three significant driving risks in using mobile phones, committing traffic offences in school zones and not wearing a seat belt are all major contributing factors in serious injury and fatal crashes on our roads,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Driver said.
“With the road toll currently at 226 fatal crashes resulting in 241 deaths, being 21 crashes and 22 deaths up on this time last year, motorists need to take greater personal responsibility for their actions on our roads, and help us drive down the road toll in NSW,” he said.