Queensland Police have announced they are increasing punishments for road users caught by mobile phone and seatbelt cameras after they were first introduced back in July.
The announcement comes just days after authorities in Tasmania revealed that they would become the latest state to utilize this new form of mobile technology on their roads in the near future.
With these cameras specially designed to catch motorists flouting particular laws, it is a major step in reducing the temptations for drivers to be distracted while driving and risk causing a serious accident.
Fines rocket for Queensland motorists
There has been a major shift in Queensland as authorities look to crack down on motorists flouting rules regarding wearing seatbelts or using mobile devices while driving.
From November 1, Queensland Police will issue a $1033 fine and four demerit points for anyone caught by a camera using their mobile phone when behind the wheel.
Furthermore, anyone – driver or passenger – caught by a camera not wearing a seatbelt will be liable for a $413 fine with drivers getting hit with three demerit points on their licence.
The move comes as authorities send a clear signal that they are taking a no-nonsense approach to anyone caught breaking the law.
Queensland‘s Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said: “these cameras can catch you anywhere, at any time and we will be penalising drivers doing the wrong thing”.
It comes after authorities gave drivers a three-month grace period as the new technology was trialled with offenders sent warning letters if they were caught breaking the rules.
With 21,600 offences – 18,313 of those for illegal phone use – recorded during the three-month trial, Mr Bailey said that the time for talk was over and that the clampdown begins now.
“The message is clear – change your behaviour or face the consequences,” Mr Bailey said.
Tasmania ready to trial mobile phone cameras
With mobile phone cameras already in used in Queensland and New South Wales, other states are also planning to introduce them with Tasmania being the latest to announce their plans.
As part of the Tasmanian Towards Zero Action Plan to improve road safety, Tasmania’s Infrastructure Minister Michael Ferguson revealed that eight new cameras would be rolled out over the coming months on local roads to catch drivers breaking the law.
The campaign is being backed by the state’s Road Safety Advisory Council which revealed that 24 per cent of serious accidents on Tasmanian roads were caused due to distractions or lack of attention.
It is why RSAC Chair Scott Tilyard underlined the importance of introducing new technologies to catch offending drivers breaking mobile phone laws.
“Trialling new technologies was identified as a key initiative to increase enforcement of inattention and deter people from illegally using their mobile phone while driving,” Mr Tilyard said.
“They are designed to promote safe driving and help us make unsafe behaviour, such as speeding and illegal mobile phone use, socially unacceptable,” he added.
Despite some road users having reservations about the technology, it has been a popular move for drivers in The Apple Isle with an RACT survey showing that 87 per cent of drivers backed new tech clamping down on mobile phone use.
It has yet to be determined just where the mobile phone and seatbelt cameras will be located, but it is just the latest step to ensure that Tasmanian drivers are just as well protected as drivers on the Australian mainland.
It is a move that Mr Tilyard believes will help catapult Tasmania into becoming one of the leaders in innovative road safety in Australia.
“The government is investing in enhanced technology with an immediate focus on ensuring Tasmania has a contemporary mobile speed enforcement program,” he said.
With Tasmania revealing their plans for using mobile phone cameras, they join Victoria, NSW, Queensland and the ACT who have already started or plan to use these new devices across their respective states.
The increasing presence of these devices on the roads spells a clear warning to all drivers – there is no place for distracted driving at all on Australian roads no matter where it might be.
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