Grant calls for urgent fix to the mobile phone ‘epidemic’

GET YOUR HAND OFF IT: The use of mobile phones by drivers is an area being addressed by the NSW Government.

GET YOUR HAND OFF IT: The use of mobile phones by drivers is an area being addressed by the NSW Government.

Further trials of technology that can catch motorists using their mobile phones can’t be rolled out soon enough, according to NSW Police Minister Troy Grant.

On Tuesday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian released the government’s road safety plan, which includes a raft of measures aimed at reducing the road toll.

A total of 392 people lost their lives on NSW roads in 2017, which was one of the most horrific tolls in recent times.

Among the proposals in the plan was amending legislation to allow cameras to be used to enforce mobile phone offences.

A trial of the technology was conducted on the Sydney Harbour Bridge last year, and Mr Grant believes the introduction of such measures could curb what he describes as an ‘epidemic’.

Everywhere I go I see people behind the wheel with their phone in their hand. Locally, the place I reckon I see it most is the corner of Brisbane Street and Cobra Street.

Troy Grant

“The idea of it is that you place the cameras, which are elevated and shoot down into the vehicles at strategic locations like intersections or traffic lights,” he said.

“The technology can be used day or night, it has infrared and it isn’t as expensive as you would think, especially if it has the capacity to save lives

“The trial that was conducted on the Harbour Bridge had some shocking results.

“Using our phones is something we do across society in general, but the use of the things by people when they’re driving has become an epidemic.

“Everywhere I go I see people behind the wheel with their phone in their hand. Locally, the place I reckon I see it most is the corner of Brisbane Street and Cobra Street.”

Mr Grant said he will make submissions for further trials, in both metropolitan and regional areas, to be rolled out as soon as possible.

At the same time the government will investigate changes that will need to be made to legislation to enable the cameras to be rolled out on a permanent basis.

“Anyone who drives and uses their phone is culpible to the highest level,” Mr Grant said.

“There needs to be a deterrent in place, and it needs to happen soon.”

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