HUNDREDS of Darling Downs motorists continue a dangerous dance with death because they can't go without a glimpse of their mobile phones.

Police have fined 415 people with mobile phone usage offences while driving since January 1, a seemingly innocent crime that can have fatal consequences.

The region's police will be out in force from today enforcing Operation Cold Snap, focusing on the Fatal Five and trying to keep our roads safe these school holidays.

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Toowoomba Road Policing Unit officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Brad Clark said police made no apologies for the show of strength on the region's highways and roads.

"It (phone use) is alarmingly high and it should not happen," he said.

"It's something that doesn't take long, but the trouble is that it is not just a glance at the phone, it is when they focus on the words that their attention is taken from the road.

"You glance down at the speedo or at the clock, but a phone needs focus.

"It is illegal to use any function of any hand-held mobile phone and that includes changing music, texting, or even swiping to check the time."

Snr Sgt Clark said mobile phone use was suspected in a fatal two-vehicle head-on collision in the Lockyer Valley on May 29.

"It appears somebody was looking at a mobile phone when they have crossed to the wrong side of the road," he said.

"We have found that people still feel the need to look at their phones while driving and it is just in that momentary lapse in concentration that they can cross to the wrong side of the road."

Eight people have died on Darling Downs roads since January 1 which is six less compared to the same period last year.

In the wider southern region, 30 people have been killed on the road.

Should there be tougher penalties for motorists caught using mobile phones?

This poll ended on 30 June 2015.

Current Results

Yes

91%

No

8%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

"Even though our fatalities are down, our injury crashes are slightly up on the same period last year," Snr Sgt Clark said.

"Sometimes there is just a fine line between a serious injury crash and a fatality.

"We will be out there in force to make the roads safe for everybody during the school holidays."

Operation Cold Snap will run from today to Friday, July 17, focusing on the fatal five which are the most common killers on the state's roads.

Snr Sgt Clark said every tool in the police traffic arsenal would be used to target bad driver behaviour including marked and unmarked cars and motorbikes, and covert methods.

"We make no apologies for the fact police will be out and targeting life endangering offences," he said.

Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said officers across the state would be specifically targeting mobile phone usage and driver inattention.

"Mobile phones are one of the major causes of driver inattention," he said.

"It's simple - don't use your phone while driving unless you have a suitable hands free device."

Snr Sgt Clark said school holidays typically saw an increase in traffic on the region's roads, but the onus was on motorists to be as safe as possible when travelling.

"Road safety is the responsibility of every driver," he said.

Alarming statistics

  • 60% of drivers admit to using a phone while driving
  • 31% of them make calls
  • 14% send texts
  • 28% use hands-free devices
  • Drivers aged 18-24, and 25-39 the worst offenders for using a phone while driving

- Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety figures, 2014



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