Queensland drivers could soon face $1,000 fines for texting while driving
Posted June 30, 2019 09:16:41
Queensland drivers who use their mobile phones behind the wheel may soon be hit with a hefty on-the-spot fine, and on a second offence risk losing their licence.
The Queensland Government’s planned crackdown on distracted drivers would introduce a $1,000 on-the-spot penalty — more than double the current fine of $400.
Those caught for the same offence a second time could be stripped of their licence altogether.
Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey said the measures were necessary to deal with the scourge of distracted driving.
“I think increasing the value of the fine to $1,000 for distracted driving and similar offences will deter this dangerous behaviour,” he said.
The fine for using a mobile with driving in New South Wales is $337. In Victoria it is $484.
The Government said it had been reviewing penalties for a range of driving offences after the deaths of 40 people on Queensland roads over the last two months.
Mr Bailey said research had shown distracted driving was as dangerous as drink-driving.
“People are literally killing themselves and killing others because they can’t keep their hands off their phone,” he said.
He said 38 people were killed and 1,224 hospitalised by distracted drivers on Queensland’s roads in 2017.
“Families and the wider community forever pay the price for that decision to check social media or read a text,” Mr Bailey said.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said too many people were dying from “senseless distraction”.
“Fatal crashes from mobile phone use just horrify me,” she said.
“Looking at your phone while driving or sending a quick text behind the wheel is something sadly the majority of drivers will own up to having done.
“Everyone knows it’s dangerous but it’s too easy for people to do it.”
Mr Bailey said tools to block the use of mobiles being used while driving could also play a part in stopping deaths.
“Over the past few months, our government has led a conversation with vehicle manufacturers, technology companies, insurers, telecommunications companies, academics, legal professionals and other stakeholders to discuss solutions to distracted driving.
“Time is overdue for us to get this right — all our lives depend on it,” he said.
The announcement comes ahead of the three-day Driver Distraction National Summit, opening in Brisbane tomorrow.
About 70 road safety and industry experts are set to participate in the summit.