A MAN has risked his life and the lives of hundreds of motorists by driving on the Pacific Motorway while reading a novel on Saturday.
Merrimac local Garo Ashikian was the passenger in a vehicle when he spotted the man enjoying a book while travelling at about 100km/h in the centre lane of the M1 at Yatala about 10am.
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“I had to look twice myself because he was just casually driving along in the middle lane and was doing quite well, he wasn’t swerving or anything,” Mr Ashikian said.
“He had the book open and rested on his steering wheel and was just casually reading and driving,” he said.
V8 Supercars champion V8 Supercars Russell Ingall today said the driver should lose his licence but would most likely just get a slap on the wrist.
“You’d have to have something seriously wrong with you to not realise when you’re travelling at 100 kilometres an hour and you’re reading a book that it’s terrible,” he said.
“With these sort of people, they won’t learn.
“You just need a bigger stick. The police now have got a twig. Give them a piece of four-by-two.”
He said harsher punishments were needed to deter motorists from risky behaviour, including texting while driving.
“This guy, he’ll probably get a $250 fine and that’s it. What sort of deterrent is that?
“If they pull his licence for six months, that’s going to make him wake up.”
The image angered road safety campaigner Russell White, who said the image was shocking but not surprising.
“With all kinds of distractions, whether it is something like this or a mobile phone, by the time you realise you are in trouble it’s too late,” Mr White said.
“I’ve seen and heard of all sorts of things with people eating cereal in the car while driving or grooming themselves on the way to work.
“People think driving is something you can do while multi-tasking and if nothing happened last time they assume they will be fine, but a lot of people don’t realise driving is the most dangerous thing people do every day.”
Acting chief superintendent Des Lacy said police would come down hard on anybody caught driving while distracted.
“That is an offence ... and it’s absolutely ridiculous,” he said.
“It’s the most dangerous thing at 100km per hour and is just a recipe for disaster.
“We would encourage a passenger who sees something like that to take down the rego, take a photo if they can and report it to police.”