26 September 2023

Police sound alarm over mobile phones

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South Australia Police (SAPOL) is urging drivers to put their safety ahead of their mobile phones, following a Statewide traffic operation which left officers alarmed and frustrated.

Officer in Charge of SAPOL’s Traffic Services Branch, Superintendent Bob Gray said more than twice as many drivers were caught using their phone while driving during Operation Fatal Distraction in March compared to the same operation in January this year.

Superintendent Gray said the police operation focused on motorists committing distraction-based offences in relation to mobile phone use.

He said 257 drivers were detected interacting with social media, reading messages or carry out other mobile phone-related behaviours while driving, each of which could cause inattention, a result which was “alarming and frustrating”.

Supt Gray said that 0in comparison, during the previous Operation Fatal Distraction in January, 112 drivers had been detected for a distraction offence.

“Drivers need to realise that using a mobile phone while driving can have very serious consequences, not only for those who use them but also for other road users,” Supt Gray said.

“Too many drivers think it is acceptable to send a quick text message or check their social media while they are driving or while they are waiting at traffic lights because they are not moving, but it is not,” he said.

“Drivers need to pay attention to the road and their surrounds at all times to respond quickly to changes in traffic and to drive safely.

“We ask all drivers to make responsible and safe choices, to ignore their phones while driving and to pull over, if it really can’t wait.”

Supt Gray said that, in 2021, 24 people died and 203 people were seriously injured in crashes where distraction was a contributing factor.

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