Louis Andrews August 01, 2012
Canberra traffic. Photo: Kate Leith
Police are calling on Canberrans to drop the eye-liner pencil, mobile phone or half-eaten sandwich while behind the wheel or risk a serious or fatal crash.
ACT Policing is this month targeting distracted drivers on the territory's roads, warning inattention could have tragic consequences.
Those distractions could range from eating, drinking coffee, talking on the phone, listening to loud music, fiddling with a GPS, or a combination of mistakes.
Sergeant Rod Anderson, officer in charge of Traffic Operations, yesterday recalled a memorable road hazard from earlier in his career.
''When I was on the bikes 10 years ago, I pulled over a fellow who was smoking, had a cup of coffee and his windscreen was frosted up,'' he said.
''So he clearly didn't have control of the vehicle, and it was quite dangerous.''
Anecdotally Canberra police have found driving while distracted sits alongside drink driving, speeding and not wearing a seatbelt as a cause of serious or fatal crashes.
Sergeant Anderson said in the colder months motorists needed to be aware driving with the windscreen iced over was an offence and a real danger.
In the past few weeks a driver crashed into the back of an ACTION bus in Conder because she couldn't see out her windscreen.
''It's not uncommon to have frosted windscreens at this time of year in Canberra and it's a very dangerous practice to be driving on our roads if you can't see properly,'' he said.
Driving with an obscured windscreen can incur an on-the-spot fine of about $100; using a phone incurs a $280 fine and the loss of three demerit points.
''But this is more about road safety,'' Sergeant Anderson said.
''If people can't see where they're going, that could have been a driver or a pedestrian on the road and the consequences could have been a lot more serious.''
Police have also warned against assuming taking a call on loudspeaker will leave a driver in the clear.
''What we'd encourage people to do is if they do receive a call, even if they have a [hands-free] device fitted to the vehicle, is that they make the phone call short, they pull to the side road,'' he said.
What's the dumbest behaviour you've seen on Canberrra roads? Please leave your comment.