By Lauren Reid
Last updated on: November 7, 2017 at 4:29 pm
Drivers are still using mobile phones behind the wheel, despite repeated warnings about the risks.
RAA road-safety expert Charles Mountain says more than 12,000 mobile phone offences are detected each year on average.
“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.
The fine for using a mobile while driving:
You’ll also incur 3 demerit points.
“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, 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.
“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.”
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 okay.