Drivers caught out

MORE than 40 drivers received infringement notices on Thursday afternoon in a Latrobe Highway Patrol police blitz.

And drivers have been warned similar operations are still to come.

Latrobe Highway Patrol Sergeant Clint Wilson said eight members, some in plain clothes, were on foot to target drivers using mobile phones and occupants of vehicles failing to wear seatbelts.

“In just three hours 44 people were issued penalty notices for offences of using mobile phones, being unrestrained, and turning over unbroken white lines,” Sgt Wilson said.

He said it was easy to detect offences at close range and low speed.

“Even drivers holding phones low and texting is easily viewed by a member standing on a corner,” he said.

“When an offence is detected, a member a little further along the road is advised by radio and the driver is intercepted.”

Sgt Wilson said highway patrol targeted Traralgon’s central business district following a high number of collisions due to distracted drivers, adding “we’re getting these incidents all the time”.

“We’re finding that there’s been a very dramatic increase in the number of collisions that have occurred because of driver distraction and often the driver distraction is in the form of a mobile phone,” he said.

“Therefore it is very important that we prevent people from using mobile phones while they are driving. Just a few seconds of inattentiveness when driving can cause a collision.”

He said a busy CBD was particularly hazardous and police would “continue to go to the CBD areas of Traralgon and Morwell and Moe on foot until we get the message across”.