Police will come calling on drivers using mobiles
LOCAL businessman Martin Colbert supports a police campaign warning of the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving.
For Mr Colbert, of Brooklet, having a driver's licence is essential to earning a living, and he believes that the safest way is the best way when answering a mobile phone in a vehicle.
Mr Colbert does not use a hands-free phone, but pulls over to a safe place and then takes the call. He doesn't rush to pull over, but waits until he finds a safe place.
The former Sydney man, who moved to the Northern Rivers in January this year, delivers confectionery for vending machines and installs the machines in businesses between Ballina and Lismore.
A percentage of sales is donated to the Our Kids program at Lismore Base Hospital.
He also has a lawn-mowing run ?- another source of income that is reliant on having a driver's licence.
Richmond Local Area Command yesterday issued a warning on answering a mobile phone while driving after Operation Compliance 6 was conducted Statewide on December 7.
It focused on drivers using mobile phones, equipment offences such as bullbars and number plate offences.
Traffic Sergeant Steve Hilder said 713 people across NSW were detected illegally using mobile phones during Operation Compliance 6.
"I am appalled that people are still getting caught making calls and texting on their mobile phones whilst driving," he said.
"They know they can cause distractions and are particularly dangerous in areas such as school zones and areas frequented by children.
"Up to November 1 this year, almost 21,000 people were caught by police using their mobile phones and driving at the same time, and when you think about the $225 fine and loss of three demerit points, installing a car kit is a better option."
Operation Compliance 6 also revealed a statistic that Sgt Hilder described as 'much scarier' than using a phone while driving ? 17 people were detected not wearing seatbelts.
He said the problem of using a phone while driving was 'very prevalent' in this region.
Sgt Hilder also cautioned people who followed the correct procedure to pull over in a steady manner. "Haste causes more accidents," he said.
Mr Colbert, who is on the road at least two days a week for his vending machine business, says he could not afford to lose his licence.