Whitsunday Police Acting Senior Sergeant Barry Haran.
Whitsunday Police Acting Senior Sergeant Barry Haran. Contributed

Operation nabs 26 drivers doing wrong thing

TWENTY-SIX motorists have been fined in the first eight days of a police operation in Airlie Beach and surrounds.

Whitsunday police Acting Senior Sergeant Barry Haran said Operation Quebec Yield had caught drivers who were unlicensed, vehicles that were unregistered, people who were not wearing seatbelts, people using mobile phones while driving and those who did not stop at stop signs.

However, from the 158 breath tests performed as part of the operation between January 1 and Tuesday morning, no drink drivers were detected.

The only drink drivers detected in the same period had been from random breath tests, rather than as part of concerted operation efforts, Snr Sgt Haran said.

Whitsunday police were pleased with the lack of drink drivers from breath testing stations.

"It's got to be seen as a good result," Snr Sgt Haran said.

However, he was disappointed by the number of people who were caught for "life endangering" offences, which included not wearing seatbelts, talking on mobile phones while driving and not stopping at stop signs.

Fourteen people were picked up by police for these offences in the first eight days of the new year.

"We're still alarmed by the number of people we catch on mobile phones," Snr Sgt Haran said.

"It's a big issue.

"We're not doing it (fining people) for fun. We're trying to save lives."

Snr Sgt Haran said drivers needed to be aware that if they were holding their phone and talking on speaker they were still considered to be using it and the practice was still dangerous as it distracted the driver.

Three drivers were caught driving unregistered vehicles as part of Operation Quebec Yield, while several motorists were unlicensed.

"That's an ongoing problem," Snr Sgt Haran said.

He said police had a traffic car that used a plate recognition camera to detect the number plate of every vehicle it drove past and sent an alert if it was unregistered.