Di­alling up pres­sure on driv­ers

The Western Star - - News -

QUEENS­LAND driv­ers il­le­gally us­ing mo­bile de­vices be­hind the wheel will be tar­geted with the tough­est penal­ties in Aus­tralia to in­crease road safety.

Less than six months af­ter flag­ging its crack­down on dis­tracted driv­ers, the Palaszczuk Gov­ern­ment has an­nounced the strict new laws which will be in place by early 2020.

Un­der the changes, driv­ers caught on their de­vices will be fined $1000, with de­merit points also in­creas­ing from three to four.

If driv­ers are caught a sec­ond time within 12 months, dou­ble de­merit points ap­ply and they could lose their li­cence.

Trans­port and Main Roads Min­is­ter Mark Bai­ley ac­knowl­edged the penal­ties were tough, but said they were nec­es­sary to get the life-sav­ing road safety mes­sage through.

“Queens­land now has the tough­est penal­ties for dis­tracted driv­ing in Aus­tralia,” Mr Bai­ley said.

“Driv­ers us­ing their phones il­le­gally be­hind the wheel will pay a high price, but that penalty falls well short of the costs and trauma our com­mu­nity car­ries for those killed or in­jured in crashes caused by inat­ten­tive driv­ers.

“A driver’s re­sponse time while tex­ting is com­pa­ra­ble to that of a driver with a blood al­co­hol read­ing of be­tween 0.07 and 0.10.

“Like drink driv­ing, driv­ers need to know that reach­ing for the phone to send a quick text or check so­cial me­dia when their eyes should be on the road is un­ac­cept­able.”

Dur­ing 2018, 33 peo­ple died on Queens­land roads be­cause of crashes in­volv­ing dis­tracted or inat­ten­tive driv­ers or riders.

Over the same pe­riod, 1358 peo­ple were hos­pi­talised in crashes caused by dis­tracted driv­ing. New penal­ties will come into ef­fect on Fe­bru­ary 1

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