A driver in Brisbane has sparked debate over a mobile phone fine, after she revealed her hands were off the wheel for another reason.
“Would you take this to court?” the motorist asked Facebook users alongside the photo included with her fine.
In the image, taken on October 12, the woman can be seen holding an unknown object in her hand while neither of her hands are on the wheel.
It was taken on the Western Freeway at Mount Coot-Tha.
“The fine says holding a mobile or resting on body,” she explained.
“However it’s not actually a phone. I’m taking my smoke out [of] the rolling machine.
“You can clearly see it’s not a phone.”
'Your hands are off the wheel'
In Queensland, using a mobile phone while driving carries a fine of $1,078 and four demerit points.
But Facebook users were quick to reject any notions of sympathy for this driver.
“You will still likely get done for driving while distracted and possibly more since it appears neither of your hands are on the steering wheel correctly,” one person wrote. “They would deem that you did not have appropriate control of the vehicle.”
“Which would amount to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle,” another said. “The smartest thing this person can do is pay the fine and learn their lesson.”
“Your hands are off the wheel,” added someone else. “You deserve every dollar of this fine.”
But the driver hit back, claiming her issue was in the details.
“I agree completely [that] I’m not innocent by a long shot, and don’t claim to be,” she wrote.
“But it’s not a phone.. So I’m being fined for the wrong thing. I can’t be charged for something I didn’t do.
“Yes they can change the charge as they see fit, I will cop that. I never made excuses in life. I will take the punishment if it fits the crime. However this is not the case.”
Others agreed and urged the motorist to contest her charge.
“The fine is for driving using a mobile, they can’t actually fine you for anything else,” one person wrote. “I’d be arguing it.”
“I’ve fought these multiple times,” another said. “I have successfully fought five this year.”
“Go fight it,” someone else added. “Love to see the outcome!”
Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) says if an infringement notice has been issued and the driver feels that they were incorrectly fined, they can view a high-resolution image through the TMR portal.
"The camera's images are filtered by Artificial Intelligence software," a spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.
"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 can have the matter heard in a magistrates court.
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