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800 drivers cop distraction fines

More than 800 people were caught using their mobile phone while driving during a recent Victoria Police operation.

Operation Saturn ran throughout Victoria between 22 October and 8 November, targetting dangerous driving that can cause crashes and trauma.

Using a mobile phone while driving makes people four times more likely to cause a fatal road crash, putting not only those driving, but also people riding bikes and walking at risk.

On average, 37 people are killed while riding a bike in Australia every year, a number that has not decreased for more than two decades.

During that time, mobile phone use has been at the centre of too many tragic, avoidable deaths. From Anthony Marsh who was killed by Silvia Ciach on the Bellarine Peninsula in 2001, to professional cyclist Jason Lowndes who was killed by Billie Rodda who had sent and received 18 text messages in the lead up to a crash in December 2017.

Bicycle Network General Manager of Public Affairs and Marketing, Anthea Hargreaves, said that as we acknowledge National Road Safety Week this week, these figures show that people need to take responsibility and put the phone down.

“We’re asking people to make the pledge the put away distractions and make the pledge to put away their mobile phone while driving.”

“Every person who rides a bike in Australia deserves to get home safely. We need to protect every life.”

By not using your phone at all you keep your eyes on the road and alert to what is happening around you. Just the briefest of looks at a phone or device makes you travel blind for huge distances.

Just a brief peek at a mobile phone or device makes you travel blind for huge distances.

As well as asking people to put their phones down while driving, Bicycle Network continues to call on governments to increase enforcement and implement technologies that can stop people from using and being distracted by devices while driving.

The current fine for driving with a mobile phone in Victoria is $496. 

Operation Saturn also caught 413 people drink-driving and 487 people with drugs in their system.

See BIcycle Network's distracted driving campaign

National Road Safety Week 2020

National Road Safety Week is running from 15 to 22 November 2020 and highlights the the impact of road trauma and ways to reduce it.

By not speeding, not driving while tired or under the influence of alcohol or drugs and not using phones behind the wheel, we can drive so others survive.

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.

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