Mobile phone blitz catches drivers red handed

The importance of fleet drivers not using mobile phones was highlighted this month in a Tasmanian Police sting.

Over a 24 hours blitz called Operation Zero, state police caught more than 100 drivers using their mobile phone while driving. This resulted in 76 infringements notices and 56 cautions.

The Royal Automobile Club of Tasmania's (RACT) General Manager of Roadside and Technical Services Darren Moody explained it was disappointing to see so many drivers breaking the law despite the ongoing education campaigns.

"There is a significant minority of Tasmanians who willfully increase the dangers to themselves and other road users by their unlawful behaviour on the roads," he said.

Using your mobile phone while driving slows reaction time and impairs your awareness, reducing your ability to anticipate hazards on the road. The RACT recommend that all drivers put their mobile phone in the glove box or boot for the drive. If you do need to make a call, then pull over to the side of the road.

Mr Moody said mobile phone use changes driver patterns and road behavio​ur can become erratic.

"Inattention is a leading cause of road crashes. Driving is a complex task that requires the coordination of a number of skills," he stated.

Seat belt message also emphasised

In Operation Zero, there were also 31 infringements and 31 cautions issued to motorists for not wearing their seat belt.

Mr Moody said seat belts can prevent serious injuries during car accidents and there is nothing smart about not wearing one.

"The case for the safety benefits of seat belts was proven decades ago and anyone not wearing a seat belt in 2014 is engaging in risky and foolhardy behaviour," he said.

A fleet manager should take responsibility for his or her drivers and keep reminding individuals about staying safe on the road.

Being less distracted while driving will also aid fleet maintenance as drivers can be more aware of the car's performance, helping keep the fleet in top condition.