ACT police fined more people for illegally using their mobile phones while driving last year than in the previous three years.
Officers dished out fines to 1299 people in 2017, the most in any one year in the territory since 2013.
Of those, 1057 were hit with a $447 fine and three demerit points for using a handheld mobile phone behind the wheel. The other 242 were penalised $548 and four demerit points after being caught messaging or social networking while driving.
Despite the increase in the volume of fines, it's still a far cry from the 2010 peak, when 2407 people were hit in the hip pocket.
The number of fines dropped each year after that until 2016, when heavier penalties were introduced for drivers caught messaging or social networking at the wheel.
Detective Sergeant Marcus Boorman said illegal phone use stopped drivers having full control of their vehicles and being able to pay attention to the road.
“Driver distraction is one of the leading causes for serious injury and death on our roads. No message, phone call or social media post is worth that risk,” he said.
It is illegal in the ACT to use a phone while driving, including when stationary in traffic.
Phones can be used for navigational purposes, with police urging motorists to set the destination before driving.
They may also be used to make or receive a phone call, provided the phone is secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle, or if the driver can make or receive the call without having to touch the phone.
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