The Age - Monday 19 November, 2007

Fines for phone use whilst driving lifts

The number of people fined for using mobile phones while driving has more than doubled in the past five years to more than 30,000 a year.

Last financial year 30,782 fines worth $7,118,727 were issued, more than double the 12,812 fines worth just $2,818,640 in 2002-03, News Ltd papers reported.

Drivers in Wagga Wagga in southern NSW were the worst offenders with 617 fines, while the Sydney CBD garnered just 386 fines, according to the figures obtained from the Office of State Revenue.

Pedestrian Council spokesman Harold Scruby called for harsher penalties to counter the rise of the problem, saying it had reached "epidemic proportions".

"You can't drive for 10 minutes without seeing another driver on the phone," he said.

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