A high-ranking Victoria Police officer has called for all mobile phone use to be illegal in vehicles.By Trent Horneman
Campaspe Highway Patrol officers believe mobile phone infringements are the second most prevalent in the region behind speeding.
Acting sergeant Kris Sutton said mobile phone use had led to two fatal crashes in the region in the past three years.
Earlier this week, a leading traffic cop Inspector David Griffin told the Herald Sun he wanted to see new laws to force drivers to switch off mobile phones in cars.
Regional business owners have warned the proposal could ruin them.
Sgt Sutton said he supported any initiative which could deter drivers from using their mobile phones in vehicles.
‘‘Monash research have done extensive research on this which show that a driver will take their eyes off the road for about three seconds at a time while using a phone. Depending on what speed you are travelling at the time, that could be critical,’’ he said.
‘‘While most of the people we catch are tourists during the busy summer period, that does not mean that locals are exempt from any blame.’’
Sgt Sutton said even Bluetooth or hands-free devices encouraged drivers to take their eyes off the road.
‘‘To answer the phone or to dial with these devices you have to take your eyes off the road,’’ he said.
‘‘Hopefully, as more and more new cars come onto the road and older ones are taken off, there will be more cars fitted with mobile phone technology.’’
Ian Scurrah, owner-operator of Scurton Parcels in Echuca-Moama, receives an average of 15 to 20 phone calls a day while he is on the road making deliveries.
He said he relied on his phone for business and used voice-activated hands-free technology while driving.
‘‘All I have to do is say answer or reject when a call comes in. I do not have to take my hands off the wheel at any stage,’’ he said.
‘‘I am an owner-operator, if these proposed changes come into effect I would have to pay someone to answer my calls. I can’t afford to do that, so I would be out of business.’’
District stock agent and Campaspe Shire councillor Ian Maddison uses his phone for business while on the road. He said he supported a possible tightening of mobile phone laws.
‘‘It will be a massive inconvenience to my business, mobile phones have become a part of our lives but there is no doubt they are a distraction,’’ he said.
‘‘There have been times when I have been travelling and having a conversation and I cannot remember going through a certain spot.
‘‘I am 60 and I have been using a mobile phone for 20 years and it is the way we have become conditioned these days. Perhaps if mobiles were banned in cars we would return to the old days where people on the road organised their days differently.’’
Artist Nici Cumpston will hold a free Artist Talk at Shepparton Art Museum tonight, speaking about her body of work based around the Shepparton region.
It’s been a long journey for Tim Roadley but his dream of creating a multi-sport endurance event on the Murray River is now going to be a reality.
It was a big day for Jye McNeil on Sunday, not only celebrating his 19th birthday, but riding a double at the Tatura and Shepparton Racing Club’s meeting, including the big one, the Vraca and Varapodio Italian Plate (1600 m), on the Gerald Egan-trained Jetconi.
Echuca Football Club has signed Joel Magnabosco and Kane Morris for next season.
On Friday Rochester’s St Joseph’s Primary School opened a time capsule which was buried in the 1980s.
Waste collection in Campaspe Shire will change for two weeks during the festive season.
Valley Park Farms' egg production facility is expected to increase production and staff after a $100 000 Victorian Government grant.
Murchison’s Jane Spencer’s first exhibition It Just Dawned On Me will be on show in Shepparton in the first half of next year.
Lisa Milligan has started a new dog grooming business in Heathcote to help fund her Wild ABout Wildlife centre in Kilmore.
Police allege a man attempted to rob a Cobram supermarket today.
Federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley says plans are in the works on how to get natural gas to Deniliquin.
New Transport Accident Commission research has revealed why some young country drivers habitually take risks on regional roads.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Parks Victoria and Country Fire Authority will be performing planned burns in Goomalibee on Monday.
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