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Police target drivers using phones in new campaign

Starting Saturday, campaign aims to reduce increasing number of violators, prevent accidents caused by phone usage while driving

By Rana Husseini - Jul 12,2018 - Last updated at Jul 12,2018

In 2008, new provisions were introduced to the Traffic Law entailing a JD15 fine for motorists seen using mobile (Photo by Osama Aqarbeh)

AMMAN — Traffic officials on Saturday will start issuing fines to motorists seen using their mobiles while driving, senior traffic officials said.

“We have noticed that there is a high increase of mobile use by motorists while driving so we decided to launch a campaign to fine violating motorists,” said Deputy Director of the Traffic Department and Director of Amman Traffic Division Col. Bassem Kharabsheh.

In 2008, new provisions were introduced to the Traffic Law entailing a JD15 fine for motorists seen using the mobile.

“The fine is only limited to motorists holding their mobiles in their hand to make a call or use its applications,” Kharabsheh told The Jordan Times.

 The traffic official said that, in the past, police had fined violators for using their phones while driving but “we felt that people are not fully abiding by the law so we decided to launch a special campaign to target mobile users on the road”.

“Internationally, the use of mobiles while driving proved to be one of the main reasons for fatal traffic accidents,” Kharabsheh stated.

The traffic director added that the latest figures indicated that many of the accidents recorded in Jordan were caused by motorists’ failure to exert full safety precautions while driving, not abiding by traffic safety regulations and sudden changes in traffic lanes.

“We concluded that many of the motorists are being distracted while driving and we know that mobile use is a surely a contributing factor,” Kharabsheh maintained, stressing that the campaign against the use of mobiles while driving is intended “to raise the awareness of motorists of the dangerous use of mobiles while driving and is not aimed at collecting money”.

During a recent meeting with police and traffic officials in the capital, Public Security Department (PSD) Director Maj. Gen. Fadel Hmoud called on the officials to “conduct special security campaigns to combat certain negative phenomena in the society such as firing live ammunition in the air and to increase the monitoring of dangerous traffic violations that are considered dangerous to motorists and pedestrians”.

The PSD issued a statement urging motorists to abide by the Traffic Laws and to refrain from using the mobile while driving.  

“We urge people to respect the law and to help the PSD spread the culture of safe driving by staying away from committing dangerous traffic violations, including the use of mobile phones,” the PSD statement said.

In 2016, traffic officials said around 70 per cent of minor vehicle accidents were caused by motorists using their mobile phones.

The Royal Automobile Club of Jordan (RACJ), which took part in recent global campaigns to promote awareness among drivers, pedestrians and cyclist on the dangers of phone use while driving, noted that drivers are four times more likely to crash while being on the phone, adding that accidents due to road user distraction by mobile phones are "on the rise". 

For drivers, pedestrians and cyclists only a few seconds of distraction can mean the difference between life and death, the RACJ said.

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