If you text and drive, you’ll pay the price in hefty fines
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
STUNG: You could pay $391 for using your mobile when driving, as well as losing three demerit points.