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Distracted drivers force bike cops off road

Distracted drivers are making riding so dangerous for motorcyclists they have forced one US motorcycle police unit off the road.

The St. Paul Police Department in Minnesota has now axed its motorcycle and horse-mounted units, citing an increase in crashes with distracted drivers.

It’s such as shame as both units not only had practical policing advantages but also community outreach benefits as shown in this photo.

cops distracted drivers
Image from St Paul Police Department Facebook page

Citizens in danger

It’s not just bike cops that face danger from distracted drivers, but all riders.

The Australian Automobile Association National Road Safety Strategy increased the motorcycle crash danger status from amber to red in 2015 citing an increase in crashes caused by distracted drivers.

It has stayed in red status ever since.

And it is not going to go away. It seems drivers are becoming more and more distracted by the various electronic gizmos in their cars.

But the biggest distraction is the mobile phone – not just for making calls. Police say they have seen drivers updating their social media and even taking selfies while they drive.Call to double driver phone penalties roundabouts distracted

In an ironic twist, St Paul’s is axing its bike cop unit while Australian motorcycle police are often deployed to patrol for motorists using mobile phone illegally.

They say the seat height of the bikes give police a good view into the driver “cockpit”.

Suspend licences

The Motorcycle Council of NSW has called for drivers who illegally use a mobile phone while driving to have their licence suspended as they do in Canada.

It’s a call that is backed by many motorcyclists as well as other motorists.

The RACQ’s annual “What drives us crazy” survey continues to find that driver distractions such as mobile phones are among the top five complaints among motorists.

Meanwhile, mobile phone fines vary across the nation:

  • NSW $337 fine and 5 demerit points;
  • Queensland $391 and 3 points;
  • Victoria $476 and 4 points;
  • Western Australia $400 and 3 points;
  • South Australia $308, plus $60 Victims of Crime levy, and 3 points;
  • Tasmania $300 and 3 points;
  • Northern Territory $250 and 3 points;
  • ACT $386 and 3 points.

Fines around the worldVietnam - double mobile phone penalties

Fines vary around the world from no fine in many Asian countries to thousands of dollars and licence suspensions in Canada.

New Zealand has an $80 fine which matches their low fines for speeding. Consequently 3.5% of Kiwi drivers use their phone while driving compared with about 1.5% in Australia.

Almost half (24) of American states have no hand-held phone ban. Some states only issue fines if the driver is in a school zone or committing some other traffic offence such as speeding. Arizona and Montana even allow drivers to text!

The toughest measures in the USA are in California. The state has a $US150 fine (about $A205) for the first offence and more than $US250 (about $A345) for a second violation and one point.

Canada has a distracted driving offence which attracts a $1000 fine and three demerit points. A second conviction could mean a fine of up to $2000 and a seven-day licence suspension. A third offence could mean a fine of up to $3000 and a 30-day suspension.

Fines in Europe vary from less than €50 (about $80) and one point in eastern Europe to €420 (about $A675) in the Netherlands and up to six points in the UK.Mobile Phones

  1. Maybe they should do what the Australian police do. Ditch those monstrous bikes and nail the muppets that do it, don’t run away from the problem, they are putting all other motorists at risk by admitting defeat.
    That is not responsible policing.

  2. Now if only they could do something about the other major distraction that’s causing almost as many accidents the random road tax!

    1. The “Random” road tax, is in fact, a voluntary contribution: if you don’t know you are speeding, then you are driving without due care and attention.

      1. Those who naively say don’t exceed the limit and you won’t get fined don’t not have a clue about road safety and are amongst the worst and most dangerous drivers on the road.
        If you’re actually paying attention to the road ahead and your surroundings you can easily drift over the limit especially on a down grade even with the cruise control on.
        Speed traps are deliberately setup in locations where the speedometer should be the last priority in order to achieve the most revenue. Speed enforcement has always been about revenue to the detriment of safety.
        98% of fatalities occurred at or below the speed limit, the remainder is made up of mostly criminals fleeing, street racers, those intoxicated with drugs and or alcohol and people suffering from some sort of medical condition, only about one fatality out of every thousand was someone who was simply speeding. Meanwhile the misinformation and deskilling of the driving public is responsible for nearly all the speed related deaths.
        I’ve heard the propaganda, “ if speed cameras save even one life they’re worth it “ they may save one life but they kill sixty in the meanwhile .

        1. Holy Smoke Batman, a speed camera saving a life, well I’ll be “Kapowed”.
          I sent a letter in to a major Car insurance company and auto call out and we’l fix your car etc.
          Because in their magazine it stated as you have quoted “Speed Cameras save life’s”. So I wrote to them. Got no reply or explanation,seems that that are the insurance company for the POLICE FORCE Mnnnnnnnnnn don’t bit the hand that feeds them.
          Golly Gosh Batman I ain’t seen a speed camera giving CPR nor first aid to accident victims!
          in my 70 or so years on the road in my travels.
          Just say’n you know.

  3. Send Strike Force Raptor over to St Paul. They’ll sort out the problem. Once a few doctors and lawyers get shoved around, word will get out among the organised gangs of phone users that you don’t mess with the fuzz.

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