Fewer drivers booked for using phones after campaign
EFFORTS to stop drivers from using their mobile phones while behind the wheel appear to have gained some traction with Roads Minister Duncan Gay reporting a fall in the number of people being fined by police.
Mr Gay said the number of people picked up by police since the start of the campaign, which includes billboards and other advertising but centres on a music video on YouTube, had dropped 11% across NSW and 13.5% in Sydney.
The video was intended to get through to young drivers who might switch off at traditional methods of delivering the mobile phone safety message.
"These results are extremely positive. It's an encouraging trend and we're glad motorists are taking heed of the message to 'Get Your Hand Off It'," a Government statement quotes Mr Gay saying.
"Our 'Get You Hand Off It' video has also garnered international interest with the French Foundation for Responsible Driving, VINCI Autoroutes, contacting the NSW Government to host the video on their website as well."
Governments are cracking down hard on using phones while driving. In NSW anyone caught using a phone while driving cops a $298 fine and loses three demerit points.
The Victorian government has gone even further. Early this year it banned P-Plate drivers from using hands-free mobiles while driving and threatening them with a $400 fine if caught flouting the new rule.
The Victorian Government has also come up with a carrot of sorts to encourage people to put their phones aside when they drive in the form of an new "Road Mode" app for phones running Google's Android operating system.
The app was expected to allow drivers to put their phones into "road mode", which blocked incoming calls and texts and sent replies saying the phone's owner was driving and would call back after the trip.
Melbourne's Herald Sun reported early this year there was even a plan to have an optional automatic mode for the app, which would turn it on as soon as a car drove at 20km/h or faster for 10 minutes.
The app is currently able to switch-off automatically by using the in-built GPS to tell when you have stopped your car.