Put the phone down: Police stats show 'poor form' of region's drivers

OXLEY drivers are the worst for talking on the phone and driving, New England motorists have the most vehicle-related offences, while parents in the Barwon area are the biggest culprits for doing the wrong thing in school zones.

Those are the results from the latest Operation Compliance – a one-day blitz on local roads that was rolled out on Wednesday. The operation targeted mobile phone, school zone and vehicle-standard offences across the state and the results were up on the last round of statistics.

Highway patrol Senior Sergeant Peter McMenamin told The Leader the cluster – comprising Oxley, Barwon and New England – had got worse but admitted more officers hit the roads this time round.

“It’s pretty poor form,” he said of the region’s results.

“When you look at the number of people issued with mobile phone offences, it’s proven scientifically being on the phone is a major distraction and that amount of phone detections, not only in Oxley, but the cluster, is extremely disappointing.”

In fact, the cluster made up almost half of the entire Western Region’s offending for talking on the phone while behind the wheel.

“And a number of those offences occurred in school zones, not only where there are children, but in an area that has been deemed to be high-risk,” Senior Sergeant McMenamin said.

Barwon officers nabbed five people on the phone and driving, while New England recorded six and Oxley nine. 

New England police reported 10 vehicles for equipment offences, including things like defective bullbars, unlawful lights and defective number plates, while Barwon had six similar offences and Oxley two.

In the school zone stakes, no region was immune from parents and carers doing the wrong thing.

“It’s just horrendous, especially when the majority of them are parents picking up children from the school. They should know better,” Senior Sergeant McMenamin said.

“The drivers were fined for offences in school zones as they were pulling over in parking zones and getting out of the car in no-stopping areas. They might be picking up their child but could be putting another two or three children at risk. 

“There are no stopping and no parking zones for a reason.”

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