‘Selfish’ choices made

Blitz: Police issued more than 1200 infringements in one day to people using their phone while driving. Photo: Ken Robertson
Blitz: Police issued more than 1200 infringements in one day to people using their phone while driving. Photo: Ken Robertson

Police say NSW drivers are ignoring the message not to text and drive, after a statewide traffic blitz last Wednesday resulted in more than 1200 infringements being issued for illegal phone use.

The operation, which targeted dangerous driver behaviour across NSW, also saw 137 infringements handed out for not keeping left, and 586 infringements for defective vehicles. 

Drivers caught using their phones face a $330 fine and the loss of four demerit points, but NSW Traffic & Highway Patrol Commander, Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy, says motorists appear undeterred. 

"Despite the numerous warnings and obvious dangers to drivers and innocent road users, the message not to text and drive is just not getting through," he said in a statement.

"In a single day, officers issued more than 1,200 infringements to people who made the selfish choice to use their phone while driving.

"For anyone to take their eyes and concentration off the road and onto a phone while driving shows a complete disregard for personal safety and the safety of everyone else on the road," he said. It comes just days after NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced a tough new road safety package following a horror holiday season on NSW roads. 

Among the new measures to curb driver distraction is a plan to use speed cameras to catch drivers using their phones illegally.

Speeding and drink/drug driving will also be targeted with additional measures, including lower speed limits and interlock breathalysers fitted to mid-range offenders' cars.

It's hoped the new measures will combat the state's road toll, which has risen over the past three years following decades of steady decline.

Just over a month into the year, 47 lives have already been lost on the roads in NSW in 2018. This time last year it was 32.

For Assistant Commissioner Corboy, the biggest tragedy is that many of those deaths were avoidable "if people took responsibility for their actions and for the maintenance of the vehicles they are driving," he said.