Driver crashed into powerpole while checking text
A DRIVER crashed his ute into a street light just seconds after he was distracted by a text message.
At Ipswich Magistrates Court this week, Stuart Max Hulcombe pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention.
The 31-year-old was driving at Brassall when he received a text message alert on his phone, which was sitting on the passenger seat.
Hulcombe took his eyes off the road momentarily to grab the phone and check the message.
When he looked up, his car was headed towards a light pole.
The Ipswich dad tried to correct his path but instead lost control of the vehicle and smashed into the pole.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Rose Molinaro said the accident took place about 12.30pm on October 31.
When police arrived at the scene of the single-vehicle crash, Hulcombe was standing next to his damaged ute. The street light had fallen across the road.
Hulcombe told police he had been aware it was an offence to use a mobile phone while driving and that the crash was his fault.
The truck driver said he had made a "silly mistake" and that he was paying out of pocket for the damage to his ute.
He was convicted and fined $450.
Ipswich police inspector Keith McDonald said officers were cracking down on drivers using their phones.
"As the use of mobile phone technology increases we continue to catch drivers using their phones," he said.
"Motorists need to understand that their whole focus is to be on driving when they are behind the wheel."
Insp McDonald said Hulcombe was lucky that the consequences of his distracted driving were not more serious.
"Fortunately in this instance he hit a pole rather than another person or vehicle," he said.
RACQ spokeswoman Lauren Ritchie said distracted driving was becoming the fastest growing problem on Queensland roads.
"You see it almost every time you drive, someone staring down at their laps thinking that no one will notice them on their phone," she said.
"Already Queensland's road toll is on track to be worse than 2014, currently sitting at 218 lives lost. "That is 11 more than the same time last year."
According to Queensland Police figures released this month, Ipswich ranks 12th for the worst regions in the state for mobile phone use while driving, with 386 drivers fined in the first six months of this year.