Operation Spotto detects distracted drivers

Operation Spotto targeted motorists using their mobile phones while driving. Picture: ON FILE

Police have spotted more than 80 motorists using their mobile phones while driving during a recent road policing operation across Melbourne.

Operation Spotto, conducted by State Highway Patrol, saw police targeting distraction-related offences, particularly the use of mobile phones and devices whilst driving, as well as seatbelt non-compliance.

Road Policing Assistant Commissioner Glenn Weir said they’re seeing distraction contributing to far too many fatal and serious injury collisions this year.

“Yet in two days we’ve caught 86 people using their phones and devices while driving. The most frustrating part is, when our members are speaking with offenders, they’re all well aware that what they’re doing is wrong,” he said.

“Driving should not be secondary to using a mobile phone or device – it requires your complete attention.

Over two days, police detected a total 131 offences, with 86 of those relating to drivers being caught using mobile phones or devices behind the wheel.

Other offences detected included 10 disobey traffic signs/signals, eight cyclist offences, four seatbelt offences, three speeding offences, three motorcyclist offences and one for unlicenced driving.

One driver was caught drug driving, with police conducting 11 roadside drug tests and 76 preliminary breath tests during the operation.

Ass Commr Weir said they need people to make better choices when behind the wheel.

“You don’t want your distracted driving to be what causes another serious injury or fatal collision. We’ve seen far too much of that this year already,” he said.

“We’ll continue to conduct operations like Spotto to ensure those that disregard the rules and use their device while driving are penalised – we make no apologies for this.”

With distraction one of the leading contributing factors in fatal and serious injury collisions this year, police are warning motorists that they’ll be conducting further covert operations to detect distraction-related offending.

The penalty for using a mobile phone or device while driving is $577 and four demerit points.

New road rules were introduced earlier this year that regulates the use of portable, mountable, wearable, and inbuilt devices while driving a vehicle or riding a motorcycle, which now includes looking at, touching or having a device resting on your body.