Despite being illegal for a rather long time, the number of motorists still getting caught using their mobiles while driving is still really concerning. It’s selfish behaviour, if we’re being honest, because if you’re holding and paying attention to your phone, you’re not paying attention to the road – and you could injure or kill someone through your inattention.
I wouldn’t want to be on either end of that, and neither would you.
ABC News reports that, in recognition of the continuing problem, the NSW Government has announced it will spend $88 million on fixed and portable cameras to catch out texting motorists at 45 sites across New South Wales.
Better yet, there’ll be no warning signs to alert motorists where these cameras will be. Roads Minister Andrew Constance said:
“We have to unfortunately use the element of surprise to get people to think ‘well, I could get caught at any time’.
I want behaviour to change and I want it changed immediately.
It’s not about revenue — it’s about saving lives.”
In a trial prior to the announcement, 8.5 million cars were checked, and more than 100,000 drivers were observed using their phones illegally.
For those who get caught, it won’t come cheap – penalties for mobile use while driving are $344 and five demerit points.
There will be some exemptions – which already exist in law – for drivers using Bluetooth, handling a phone only to pass it to a passenger, or using a phone while in a drive-through situation – but by and large, if you get caught, you’ll have some explaining to do.
I appreciate some people have different views here, but mine – at least – are pretty clear: if you’re driving, drive. If you need to use your phone, pull over, park legally, and go for it. Continue driving when you’re done.
You don’t want to be the one who mows down a cyclist or a pedestrian because you took your eyes off the road to use your phone.