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Don't Get Caught Members > What's On Our Radar?: Push For New $1000 Fine
What's On Our Radar?: Push For New $1000 Fine

Jun 30, 2019

Push For $1000 Fine For Using A Phone While Driving In Queensland

Drivers caught using their mobile phone behind the wheel could soon face a much harsher penalty, with the Queensland Government pushing to increase the fine to $1000.

Talk of introducing the new penalty comes off the back of a horror death toll on the state’s roads in the past few months.

More than 40 people have lost their lives in road crashes in the past two months, causing the State Government to reconsider the current penalties for multiple driving offences.

The three-day Driver Distraction National Summit starts in Brisbane tomorrow and Transport Minister Mark Bailey is determined to push forward with his proposal to increase the fine for mobile phone distraction.

If the new penalty is introduced, drivers would see the current penalty of $400 more than double and may also lose their licence if caught using their phone behind the wheel a second time.

“People are literally killing themselves and killing others because they can’t keep their hands off their phone,” Mr Bailey said.

“Families and the wider community forever pay the price for that decision to check social media or read a text.

“It’s not worth it and I think our laws need to more clearly send that message.”

If the fine is introduced it would make Queensland the state with the harshest laws for this offence in the country.

The ACT currently has the highest penalty with a special $577 fine for using a phone for messaging, social networking, using a mobile application or accessing the internet.

South Australia is the second highest at $534, but this new fine would more than double that.

Drivers in Victoria face a $484 fine, while NSW motorists are up against a $337 penalty.

Those in Western Australia are hit with a $400 fine for mobile phone use and Tasmanians cop a $414 fine.

The Northern Territory has the lowest penalty at $250.

Mr Bailey said research shows distracted driving is just as dangerous as drink driving and that the laws need to change to reflect that.

Recently a young Sydney driver was killed in a horrific head-on crash after taking a Snapchat video of her passenger in the back seat.

In 2017 alone, 38 people were killed, and 1224 people hospitalised by distracted drivers on Queensland’s roads.

“We’ve seen a major cultural shift in our attitude to drunk driving and we need to have that conversation now about our obsession with screen time while driving,” Mr Bailey said.

“Governments across Australia introduced random breath testing, increased penalties, and slashed the legal blood alcohol limit.

“While some complained at the time, these reforms saved thousands of lives, with the road toll falling from 638 in 1973 to 245 last year.”

The Transport Minister’s tough approach is being backed by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Ms Palaszczuk said “doing nothing is not an option” and even though everyone knows using your phone while driving is dangerous, people are still continuing to do it.

“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,” she said.

“Too many Queenslanders continue to die needlessly on our roads from senseless distraction.”

Crashes caused by people using their phones is part of the ‘Fatal Five’, which includes the top causes of fatal road crashes.

A combination of tougher penalties, better driver education and using new technology to block the use of phone devices by drivers is how Mr Bailey believes we can reduce the number of lives being lost to driver distraction.

“I think increasing the value of the fine to $1000 for distracted driving and similar offences will deter this dangerous behaviour,” he said.

“We made a commitment to work with experts on road safety to influence new thinking and approaches to distracted driving and that’s what we’ve done.”

The plan with be finalised during the Driver Distraction Summit so it can be introduced as soon as possible.

“Time is overdue for us to get this right. All our lives depend on it.”
Article Source: https://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/motoring/on-the-road/push-for-1000-fine-for-using-a-phone-while-driving-in-queensland/news-story/7b4fa371f2402b27d4346e800c7a2344?fbclid=IwAR2ns_euYiFSvhBYi019DUJa5SG1dy-k6OZnOZDPDLUdVfyk1AWJNK27Uh0

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