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SA drivers increasingly distracted

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There has been a 15 per cent increase since 2017 in fines issued to drivers for being distracted on South Australian roads, according to the RAA.

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The $287 fines – which are not issued for mobile phone usage but for other distractions like reading a book, brushing teeth, doing makeup or shaving – were handed out to 1238 drivers in SA last year and totalled more than $316,000.

This is up from the 1078 drivers fined $256,000 in 2017 for the same behaviour.

A further 684 motorists were cautioned for distracted driving in 2020, according to the latest SA Police figures.

RAA Senior Manager of Safety and Infrastructure Charles Mountain said distracted driving was one of the primary causes of crashes on SA roads.

“Motorists must remember they risk not just a fine or caution but potentially their lives and other road users’ safety when they don’t fully concentrate on the task at hand when behind the wheel,’’ he said.

“Whether it’s personal grooming, eating or using a mobile phone, driver distraction is one of the biggest causes of crashes on our roads and can have tragic consequences.

“This applies even when you’re waiting at lights or in a stationary queue of traffic.

“Traffic can often stop and start without warning, so you need to be ready to always respond appropriately.’’

According to SA Police, more than half of fatal crashes on SA roads last year were due to distracted driving (including the use of mobile phones). The state’s road toll was 95 last year.

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