A simple mistake made by a 13-year-old girl cost her dad a huge $2,156 after she was busted wearing her seatbelt incorrectly under her shoulder twice while a passenger in the car.
The Gold Coast dad was shocked to receive not one but two fines in the mail — each costing $1078 and four demerit points — revealing his daughter had made the same mistake twice within two weeks.
According to the Queensland government, seatbelts at all times must be worn with the belt over your shoulder, and wearing it differently is a punishable offence. But the frustrated dad claims he couldn't see his daughter's seatbelt from his driver's seat and asked if it was worth having the matter heard in court.
"Just received two x $1078 fines plus total 8 demerit points, only 2 weeks apart for my 13yo daughter not wearing her seatbelt correctly. Had no idea that she was wearing it that way as can’t see from drivers point of view," he vented on Facebook. He also asked if there was "any chance of somehow reducing the penalty" which increased from $413 to $1,078 on July 1 last year.
The Gold Coast man shared two images of his daughter which were detected by mobile traffic cameras. Both were taken two weeks apart on the same road in March.
Driver slammed over well-known seatbelt rule
"You as a driver are responsible for everyone in the car. Perhaps you need to be firm with your daughter. Welcome to reality," one wrote. "She's old enough to know how to wear a seat belt, just give her the fines to pay and she will wear it properly from then on," said another.
Others noted the dangers of wearing a seatbelt incorrectly and said drivers should prioritise safety on our roads. "Both learn from this and fix the problem for next time before your daughter flies out of the car in a crash," one wrote. "I’d suggest forget about the law and just think of the damage done to your daughter in an accident with the seatbelt worn like this," said another.
Some however thought he had a chance of getting off suggesting "adults know the road rules but children make mistakes". "I feel for you, I caught my 13-year-old doing this and yelled at her," one person said. "These fines are crippling people. I understand to a certain degree but mistakes are made."
Alarming numbers of drivers caught not wearing seatbelts correctly
The cameras were introduced in Queensland in 2021 and in December last year the Queensland Government said there were more than 50,000 drivers or front-seat passengers detected not wearing their seatbelts correctly in the first 12 months. "Failing to wear a seatbelt or wear it correctly could easily end in tragedy – that's the reality," Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said.
A spokesperson for Transport and Main Roads (TMR) previously told Yahoo News Australia the camera images are filtered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) software. If a possible offence is detected, the image is reviewed by an authorised TMR officer to determine if an offence has been committed.
"Every person issued an infringement notice for a mobile phone or seatbelt offence, which comes with a penalty of $1,078 and four demerit points, can have the matter heard in a magistrates court," they said.
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