Do you text while driving? Despite the warnings, embarrassment and potential to rear-end someone (or worse) — about 23 per cent of NSW motorists admit to checking a text or taking a call while driving, according to 2011 research from Newspoll and insurance firm Bingle. Little wonder that NSW cops caught 796 motorists talking or texting on their phones during ‘Operation Compliance’ on Wednesday.
Here are the areas that were home to the largest number of offenders:
Rose Bay – 115
Surry Hills – 113
Newcastle – 23
Tweed/Byron – 19
Griffith – 17
In total, 632 drivers were caught in metro areas and 164 on regional roads. That’s pretty crazy when you think that Wednesday’s crackdown was just a one day operation.
In a media release however, Acting Highway Patrol and Traffic Command Operations Manager Phil Brook said police
will continue to target motorists using their mobile phones because, clearly, by not concentrating solely on driving their vehicle and their surroundings, they are putting other road users at risk.
The effect of using a hand-held phone behind the wheel has been widely studied and is universally acknowledged to dramatically increase the risk of having a crash.
Here’s what the cops can slap you with:
It is illegal in all Australian states and territories to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving – this includes sending or receiving SMS messages. The penalty for being caught talking or texting while driving in NSW is a $253 fine and the loss of 3 demerit points.
Source: NSW.gov.au PDF fact sheet
Add other digital distractions, like GPS devices, into the driving mix and there’s a lot going on behind the wheel of some cars on our streets.
As I always say, it comes down to personal responsibility for my mind. What’s your take?
Original Images by Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images and RTA NSW blended by Gizmodo