Police remove phones from hands of those in fatal crashes

THERE are two divisions of road police on the Fraser Coast; those who tell people to stop texting while they drive, and those whose job it is to remove those phones from fatal crashes.

As this year's Queensland Road Safety Week wraps up, police and emergency service personnel are again pleading with drivers to avoid the Fatal Five; one of which is driver distraction.

Maryborough Road Policing Unit Senior Constable Adriane Edge, and his division colleagues, have been trained to know if someone has been using a phone while driving.

While he did not want to disclose his techniques, he said most of the time it was fairly obvious.

"You can tell with their body language," Snr Const Edge said.

"The way they're sitting, that sort of thing."

Forensic Crash Unit Senior Constable Steve Webb has attended about 500 fatal crashes, and has removed electronic devices from the hands of those who did not survive a crash.

"IPods and phones," Snr Const Webb said.

"People will sometimes be playing with their iPods, and the scene will show you exactly what happened."

Snr Const Webb said in some cases, a rectangular imprint of the phone or music player became engraved into the windshield of a victim's car.

"It's not very common, but it's one of the things we look for on the windshield, along with a head-strike (where the victim's head has hit the windshield) that usually means they were not wearing a seatbelt," he said.

"But if we see that something looks like it's smacked against the windshield like that, we'll look on the floor and often find a phone or iPod."

Eight people have died in seven tragic crashes this year on the Fraser Coast.

Snr Const Webb said it was a "frustrating" statistic.

"Every crash takes a toll," he said.

"I just don't know what it's going to take to make that change."


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