It's been a hot topic at roadhouses.
It's been a hot topic at roadhouses. APN PHOTO LIBRARY

ISPY: 'They are only sorry because they got caught'

THERE is no doubt that drivers of any type of vehicle who speak on their mobile phone while driving or who send text messages are a danger to themselves and other road users.

However, not many of us could say we have not been guilty at times and that includes some truck drivers.

State Governments around Australia are now considering doubling fines and increasing loss of licence demerit points.

This has been the topic of conversation among truckies at roadhouses and rest areas.

Spy spoke to numerous truckies about the subject and also sent emails out to numerous others to gain their opinion.

Most said that those who do it were hardly ever get caught and if and when they were the current fines acted as a deterrent for future acts.

"Anybody who does get nabbed by the cops on their mobile phone whilst driving will say they are sorry. But they are only sorry because they got caught," a NSW truckie told Spy.

A Huon Valley truckie from Tasmania's deep south has this to say:

"Double the fine, and put a vigilante fee on any dash cam footage sent in that gets a conviction. What's a fine worth now $1000 or so? Double it then go halves with the sender of the evidence. That way people will be too scared of getting a fine to use their phone," he told Spy.

A Geelong based driver said this, "A second offence should result in double the fine. And licence suspension for a third time."

One Hobart-based road transport identity had a different view to most.

"I still wonder why it is OK for the police and so on to talk on their phones and radios<TH>...<TH>shows it up for being a cynical money raising exercise," he said.

A Brisbane based veteran said he thought double fines was an ideal start.

"From the vantage point of the truck seat you see a lot of people doing dangerous things. If this will make people pay more attention to their driving habits it can only be a good thing," he said.

A Ballina-based driver said he lived at an ideal location to check out driving habits.

"From our deck, we look down on passing motorists and it alarms me to see driver's texting or holding a phone in one hand and driving with the other. How can they see where they're going when their eyes are down while texting? We live at a T-junction and drivers at that stage should be looking at the road - not otherwise being engaged."

A Toowoomba-based driver totally agrees.

"Double the fines plus a lengthy suspension of licence for repeat offenders," he said.

A female driver was harsh on what she considers would reduce the road toll.

"Doubling fines is nowhere near harsh enough. Let's quadruple the fines and see a clear result on deaths, injuries and trauma due to mobile phone use while driving," she said.

A Victorian driver said he heard a discussion on a radio station about the subject.

"In NSW authorities double fines for traffic offences over long weekends or during school holidays. My opinion on mobile phones is - I don't think it is a good idea, because look at what they have done for drink driving, still catching plenty of drivers - and the message doesn't work," he said.

A Tully-based driver provided a thought provoking and common sense comment.

"I think it should be doubled all year around not just on school holidays, being on the road I see it all the time, some people think they're beyond the rules, I don't think you would stop it unless it's a real heavy fine all the time, if someone killed one of their family members, it might be a diff- erent story, but a bad way to learn a lesson," he said.

A South Australian driver I spoke to on July 8 said he had been guilty of using his phone whilst driving.

"I reckon we all have at sometime or another but after all of the incidents I have seen this year from my truck driver's seat that have caused danger I will from now on pull up and speak on it," he said.

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