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Drivers fiddling with their phones slapped with harsher penalty

Article image for Drivers fiddling with their phones slapped with harsher penalty

The New South Wales Government is cracking down on motorists who text and drive by increasing the penalty to five demerit points.

Just last week, we discovered a majority of drivers don’t believe texting while driving is dangerous.

In the same week, a one-day police blitz busted 900 drivers across the state using their mobile phones behind the wheel.

“What more do we have to say and do before people realise they’re taking their lives, and those of other people on the roads, into their own hands?” Chris Smith says.

NSW Roads Minister Melinda Pavey says increasing the demerit penalty will send a strong message to drivers who fiddle with their phones while driving.

“We’ve got to take the community with us, educate them… highlight the fact that there are half-written messages between the legs of people in a car crash.

“It’s not an accident, it’s a crash because you’re taking your eyes off the road writing a text.”

When asked when smart camera technology will be ready to catch drivers using their devices, the Roads Minister tells Chris more time is needed to get it right.

“If I had my druthers, if I had my way, I’d click my fingers and it’d happen tomorrow. But it takes longer than that because we are the world leader in this type of technology.

“We’ve got to get it right.”

Click PLAY below for the full interview 

One woman who knows the impact texting and driving can have on an entire family is Vicki Richardson.

Vicki’s daughter Brooke was heading to work five years ago when she took her attention off the road to text a hairdressing client.

Brooke never made it to work and Vicki has been working tirelessly, through her foundation Don’t Text n Drive, to get people off their phones while they’re driving.

She tells Ben Fordham the state government’s move to inflict tougher penalties is a step in the right direction.

“I’m very pleased by it. I’ve been affected by this and I understand the tragedies that can occur.

“When you live with this constantly, there’s no other way to deal with it.”

Click PLAY below for the full interview with Vicki Richardson

Texting crackdown