Last Saturday morning, I attended the funeral for chief fire officer Don Gerrand. I was proud to be part of a guard of honour on Duke Street and then walk with the large contingent of Fire Brigade and community representatives who followed fire engine “Flick”, carrying Don to a service at the Town Hall. It was wonderful to see the community turn out in such force along the route.
We honoured a man who gave 53 years’ service to Cambridge brigade, the last 28 years of which were in his role as chief. He will leave large boots to fill, but I know his legacy will continue through his family’s ongoing involvement with Cambridge Fire Brigade, the resources he put in place and the commitment of all brigade members. Thank you to the Gerrand family for sharing the precious occasion with the Cambridge community.
Today I want to address a driving matter. Last Wednesday, I took part in a traffic operation targeting mobile phone use whilst driving. Using a spotter, we identified a number of drivers who were by their mobile phone. Justifications included looking at google maps, ending a phonecall and looking at the current time. The following day, I was scene guard following a serious assault on Campbell Street, Leamington. This saw me standing static at the intersection of Campbell and Shakespeare streets for a number of hours. The location was cordoned off with Police emergency tape and road cones. Disappointingly, mobile phone use whilst driving was again clearly evident. A few people drove past blatantly holding up their mobile phones, apparently to video the crime scene activities. Others were so distracted talking on their phones, that they seemed to not even register my presence.
Using your mobile phone whilst holding it in your hand takes your eyes off the road, a hand off the steering wheel and gets you thinking about something other than the important task at hand – driving safely. This can negatively impact your own driving. It equally reduces your awareness of your surroundings and of the sometimes unpredictable actions of other drivers on the road. If you have Bluetooth in your car, purchase a holder for your mobile phone. Ensure however that the position of the holder does not impede your view through the windscreen – ideally placing it below the level of your dashboard. If using Googlemaps, activate the voice function so that you hear instructions instead of taking your eyes off the road.
The rules are clear. The only time you may use your mobile phone when the driver of a vehicle is if you are safely and legally parked out of the flow of traffic.If you are caught using a mobile phone, you will receive a fine of $150 and 20 demerit points.