Dialling up pressure on drivers
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