Drivers are reminded to keep their attention on the road as police 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.
In the ACT, the most common offence related to driver distraction is mobile phone use. So far this year (January – April), police have issued over 500 Traffic Infringement Notices (TINs) and over 170 cautions for using a mobile phones while driving.
More than 80 of these TINs have been for the new offence, drive using mobile phone for messaging, social networking, mobile application or accessing the internet, which came into effect in September 2016.
Officer in Charge of Traffic Operations, Acting Station Sergeant Marcus Boorman stressed the importance of keeping your full attention on the road.
“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.”
“A common misconception is that if the vehicle is stopped at traffic lights then it is okay to use your phone, it’s not. You need to find a safe place to pull over and park before you can use your phone,” Station Sergeant Boorman said.
“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 blind folded and unable to adequately respond to the events happening on the road around them.”
As the Canberra cold weather sets in, police are reminding drivers that frosted or obscured windscreens, windows and mirrors is also a distraction.
“It is the driver’s responsibility to thoroughly clear their windows before driving. Plan ahead and take time in the morning to clear all frosted and foggy windscreens. Operating a vehicle with restricted visibility is dangerous. If you can’t see, you can’t drive safely.”