Sunshine Coast Traffic Branch officer in charge Shane Panoho.
Sunshine Coast Traffic Branch officer in charge Shane Panoho. Megan Mackander

Don't touch that salad roll - it could kill you

TAKING a bite out of a salad roll while driving could kill you.

The simple yet foolish actions of distracted drivers are the catalyst behind dozens of crashes on Sunshine Coast roads.

For one motorist who reached for their dropped lunch, the move was a killer.

The Sunshine Coast's top traffic cop is pleading with drivers to keep their eyes on the road and avoid becoming a road toll statistic.

Traffic Branch officer in charge Shane Panoho said it was time motorists put their driving ahead of everything else when behind the wheel.

Eating a meal, changing a song on an iPod or CD, turning up the radio volume, following a GPS, texting or turning the head to talk to a passenger can all be fatal.

"There is a responsibility attached to driving," Snr Sgt Panoho said.

"You are effectively driving up to three tonnes of steel, metal, glass and rubber on a road at speeds of up to 110kmh.

"People are just becoming too complacent.

"You are driving a potentially deadly weapon that can maim or kill someone.

"Most people just think they are just driving, it is something they do every day, but if the vehicle is driven poorly it can result in death or injury to another person and I wouldn't want that on my conscious for the rest of my life.''

The Sunshine Coast road toll has crept to 16 deaths from 13 crashes this year. Loss of control accounted for 28% of crashes.

Snr Sgt Panoho said it would never be possible to stop drivers eating while driving, but common sense should prevail.

"We don't need to restrict every aspect of life," he said.

"But common sense has to come into the picture at some stage.

"If you are having a snack, fine, but if you are having a three-course meal while driving, you can expect to expect to get an infringement notice for not having proper control of a vehicle."

Snr Sgt Panoho said it was frustrating to see the increasing number of drivers using mobile phones.

"The fine for talking on a phone while driving is $330.

"Plain clothed police officers are actively undertaking targeted patrols of the coffee and entertainment precincts at Mooloolaba and Noosa where we know there is a higher incidence of inattention and errant behaviour."



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