Warning: keep your eyes on the road not on your phone

Most of us like our mobile phones and think of them as life savers for staying in-touch, but they can be killers too. Drivers distracted by a mobile phone can be just as dangerous as drink drivers and police in Queensland and SA are cracking down on motorists who have their eyes on their phone rather than on the road.

From today, if you’re caught using your phone while you drive, new tougher penalties will be enforced on roads in Queensland and SA.

Police will issue double demerit points for drivers caught using a mobile phone behind the wheel two or more times in a year, plus a $353 fine and the loss of six demerit points.

Police are also encouraging you to dob in drivers for using their mobile phones as part of the crackdown.

Trivial text messages sent or read by drivers at the wheel have claimed the lives of at least 20 people on the nation’s roads and left many more injured, a News Limited 2013 investigation shows.

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A man believed to have crashed while texting a smiley face icon to a mate is among cases that have been investigated by state coroners and police in Victoria.

Other short messages linked to recent fatal accidents on the nation’s roads include “I’ll be home soon”, and “Hey are you still coming today?”.

A NSW woman was lucky to survive after she ran under a truck while typing “just finished for the day already whats crakin?” is one of the few known prosecutions nationally for non-fatal texting accidents.

Some studies have shown texting increases the risk of a crash or near crash by up to 15 times for car drivers, and over 20 times for truck drivers.

It’s not just the driver’s safety that is at risk, our grandchildren take their lives in their hands riding and walking to and from school everyday. Are these new penalties tough enough, and do we have a moral duty to dob in drivers who use a phone behind the wheel?