Northern region drivers nabbed on mobile phones

HUNTER drivers have been caught reaching for their phones while behind the wheel more than any other regional area in a one-day police crackdown, infringement figures show. 

NSW Police figures show officers recorded 90 mobile phone offences in the Northern region during Wednesday’s Operation Compliance 2.

The operation is the latest chapter in a statewide police effort to stamp out risky driver behaviour.

Traffic and Highway Patrol command officers handed out more than 1000 tickets for seatbelt and mobile phone offences alone between midnight Tuesday and midnight Wednesday. 

Most of the offences (713) were for mobile phones, with 317 for not wearing seatbelts. 

The Northern region was the state’s worst non-metropolitan performer on the phone front but ranked among the best when it came to using seatbelts.

Its restraint infringements matched the Central Metropolitan region’s NSW low of 38, substantially below figures from all other regions.

But it was narrowly behind the south-western metropolitan region on mobile phones, just eight behind that and a single offence ahead of the western region. 

Acting Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith said police targeted seatbelts and mobile phone offences because they were a risk to everyone else on the road.

​“Using a mobile phone while driving means a driver’s eyes are off the road and their concentration is somewhere other than driving, which is putting all road users at risk,” he said. 

“It is risky and selfish behaviour that is costing these lives in many instances,” he said. 

“To have more than 1000 booked in a single day for mobile phone and seatbelt offences shows a lack of responsibility by many drivers and other road users.”

Operation Compliance runs throughout the year in a bid to change driver behaviour. 

“These operations will continue until everyone can comply with simple road rules,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Smith said.