Defiant driver wins months-long battle over $1,160 seatbelt fine while on a date

The fine claimed the woman in Mike Gambaro's passenger seat had not been wearing her seatbelt 'properly adjusted'. But he refused to cop it.

Left, Mike Gambaro waves the letter announcing his seatbelt fine had been waived out of his car window. Right, the original $1100 seatbelt infringement.
Beauty and the Geek star Mike Gambaro copped the $1100 seatbelt fine after picking up a date earlier this year. Source: A Current Affair

A Beauty and the Geek TV star has come out on top after a chivalrous move led to him copping a $1,160 seatbelt fine and four demerit points. Mike Gambaro, who appeared on the reality TV show in 2022, was slapped with the hefty infringement in January after picking up a date and driving to the movies.

A letter from the Queensland Government that later landed in his mailbox claimed the woman in his passenger seat has not been wearing her seatbelt “properly adjusted”. However, Mike told A Current Affair that when he asked his date, she was “extremely adamant” she’d been wearing the restraint correctly.

Grainy photos caught on a roadside camera show the woman wearing her seatbelt over her lap while scrolling on her phone. Determined to fight the fine, Mike even submitted a video his passenger had taken of herself in the car, in which she can be seen placing the seatbelt over her shoulder.

“I’m being called a liar practically from the Queensland Government. Not paying it. I’m going to keep fighting it, keep disputing,” he told the program.

The roadside camera photo of Mike Gambaro's date wearing her seatbelt in the passenger's seat.
Mike Gambaro said his date was adamant she was wearing her seatbelt. Source: A Current Affair

After months of back-and-forth, Mike hired a lawyer and was ready to have his day in court — but he didn’t get that far. Just days before he was due to attend, he received a letter saying the infringement had been dismissed.

“The matter has been reviewed and, on this occasion, the decision has been made to waive the infringement notice,” the letter read.

Speaking to ACA after the victory, Mike declared that he “fought the law and won”.

“Obviously someone in the court process has now looked at that and then completely gone, we can’t fight this,” he said.

“It was stressful, it was way too stressful but I’m so happy that it’s been let go,” he added.

In Queensland, the state government dramatically increased the financial toll of various road offences in 2022. As part of that, fines for not wearing a seatbelt, or doing so incorrectly, were increased from $413 to a whopping $1,078.

Then Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said at the time the steep increases were part of the Queensland Government's 10-year road safety strategy, aimed at reducing the death toll on the state's roads.

Seatbelt offences have been targeted by new cameras on Queensland roads since November 2021.

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