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Positive feedback following cellphone blitz

Positive feedback following cellphone blitz

As a week-long blitz on drivers using cellphones behind the wheel ends, police say feedback from motorists – even those caught – has been generally positive.

Police launched the nationwide blitz last Monday (26 November) to coincide with the anniversary of the introduction of legislation banning mobile phone use while driving and to remind drivers of the risk associated with distraction while driving. Also included in the blitz, which ended at midnight yesterday, was a focus on wearing safety belts.

Superintendent Carey Griffiths, National Manager Road Policing, said while infringement numbers would not be known for a few weeks, it was not considered a measure of the success of the campaign.

“While enforcement is a part of the equation in getting people to change their behaviour, Police don't take an increase or decrease in numbers of infringements as a success measure. It’s a success if we can generate an increased awareness among motorists of the dangers of these risks and get them to change their behaviour, which will translate to an overall reduction in crashes, deaths and injuries over time.

“In the meantime, what is really pleasing is that anecdotal feedback from Police staff across the country suggests most people have responded positively to the campaign, with feedback from many motorists saying that they are unimpressed when they see someone using their cellphone at the wheel, and that they are pleased that Police are enforcing the rule.

“Equally, many of those who have been caught have been contrite about being ticketed and have said it was about time they were caught to stop them doing it again,” Mr Griffiths said.

“The good thing is that people seem to be taking on board the message that it’s not okay to be on the open road at 100 kph and not be giving your full attention to driving because you’re using your phone or handheld device to send a text or check an email, as nothing is that important.

“Generating more widespread social unacceptance of this kind of risky behaviour that puts other, law-abiding road users at risk is a key step in helping to make our roads safer for everyone.”

Mr Griffiths said despite the campaign finishing, Police would still be continuing to target driver distraction and other forms of risky behaviour – including those who failed to wear seatbelts or ensure children were safely restrained.

"We know that just as putting away cellphones and other distractions can make a difference, wearing seat belts also continues to save lives, even though there are still some drivers and their passengers who just don't get it.

"These are two very simple things that we can all do that can make a difference," Mr Griffiths said. "It is not hard or time consuming, but can be the difference between life and death if something goes wrong.

"We want every journey to be a safer journey for every road user."


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