If you text and drive, you’ll pay the price in hefty fines

Gatton Star - - LIFE STARS -

THE silly sea­son is upon us, but there’s noth­ing funny about be­ing un­safe on our roads.

Po­lice have be­gun ramp­ing up pa­trols and im­pos­ing heftier fines for break­ing the law, warn­ing res­i­dents to be smart while driv­ing as Christ­mas draws near.

As of last Fri­day, mo­torists caught us­ing a mo­bile phone while be­hind the wheel face a $391 fine as well as cost­ing three de­merit points, and those caught for a sec­ond time within 12 months of the first of­fence will cop dou­ble-de­mer­its.

Bund­aberg Road Polic­ing Unit of­fi­cer-in-charge Sergeant Johnathan Sitkiewicz said, if pos­si­ble, mo­bile phones should be con­nected via blue­tooth or in a cra­dle so there was no temp­ta­tion to have the de­vice in your hands.

“Mostly, po­lice pre­fer that you don’t touch your phone or look at you phone at all while you’re driv­ing, but some hand-held de­vices can as­sist you while you’re driv­ing to make it safer,” Sgt Sitkiewicz said.

An in­creased po­lice pres­ence will also fo­cus on speed as well as drink and drug driv­ing, with ran­dom breath and drug tests oc­cur­ring more fre­quently.

Sgt Sitkiewicz said there would be a lot of en­force­ment on high­ways and ma­jor roads “so make sure you keep your speed at the speed limit”.

“We’ve got drug test­ing com­ing on board now. It’s not just the stan­dard ran­dom breath test­ing,” he said.

“Of­fi­cers have the abil­ity to drug test driv­ers... and that also comes with sim­i­lar penal­ties as drink-driv­ing such as los­ing your li­cence, and fines and penal­ties from the court sys­tem.

“There’ll be a lot of speed cam­eras out on the road as well, es­pe­cially on those ma­jor roads.”

He said driv­ers should be mind­ful of fa­tigue as more mo­torists are do­ing long trips dur­ing the hol­i­day pe­riod.

“Tired driv­ing is a big one at the mo­ment, ev­ery­one’s do­ing long hours on the road,” he said.

— Toni Ben­son-ro­gan

PHOTO: WAR­REN LYNAM

STUNG: You could pay $391 for us­ing your mo­bile when driv­ing, as well as los­ing three de­merit points.

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