'This is just madness': Australian drivers caught watching porn instead of road

During a two-hour police operation in Melbourne, 53 people were caught using mobile phones while driving.
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/STUFF

During a two-hour police operation in Melbourne, 53 people were caught using mobile phones while driving.

Motorists have been caught watching pornography on their phones while driving in a police blitz in Australia's second-largest city.

The discovery has led to calls for a restriction on accessing mobile phone data while driving.

Victoria Police assistant commissioner Doug Fryer said that during a two-hour police operation in Melbourne on Thursday, 53 people were issued with traffic infringements for using mobile phones while driving.

"We had punters watching pornos, we had people watching movies, we had one guy that had a movie going and another phone so he could talk to his friends," he said.

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"Most of them had phones on their lap and were engaged in social media."

Fryer said that kind of "wilful distraction" was what made Victorian roads so dangerous.

"This is just madness," he said.

"These people need to get it into their head that it creates significant danger to everyone on the road, including themselves.

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"What it shows to me is a broader complacency around what people are doing in the cabins of their car."

He said statistics showed 60 per cent of Victorian drivers admitted to using their phones while driving, and that "perhaps the answer lies in the technology and how we can block data coming into vehicles".

"There is some work being done around that, which we can't go into too much detail about at the moment," he said.

"That technology is there, the challenge is blocking just one particular phone. If you've got a carload of people, do you really want all of their data blocked?

"It's not about blocking mobile phone calls coming in, for me it's around the data coming into the car, which is causing significant distraction to everyone."

He said the fine in Australia for using a phone while driving was recently increased to A$476 (NZ$497) and four demerit points.

"I think we've got the balance right in the penalty, and it really needs to be around community education," Fryer said.

 - The Age

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