Australia is clamping down on motorists using their phones behind the wheel as another state announces stricter laws to tackle disobedient drivers.
On Thursday, the Queensland Government revealed anyone caught using a phone will be fined $1000 from February 1, and drivers caught twice within a year risk losing their licence.
The fine is more than double the current penalty of $400.
Transport minister Mark Bailey says Queensland will also trial cameras already in use in NSW that are specifically designed to detect mobile phone use on the roads.
"They are the toughest laws in Australia... because this problem has been escalating," he told ABC radio on Thursday.
"I just can't accept the road toll – we've got to deal with this."
Mr Bailey says drivers already know they are breaking the law and risking lives by picking up their devices, and there's no need for a long lead in time.
"The safest thing for people to do is to change their behaviour right now because that means safer roads."
NSW introduce ‘world-first’ scheme to catch motorists on their phone
While starting on December 1, drivers will be given a three-month grace period and will only receive a warning if caught by the cameras in this period.
Following that period, motorists will be fined at $344 if caught, or a $457 fine will apply if caught in a school zone.
Drivers will also receive five demerit points.
The cameras were initially trialled between January and June, detecting more than 100,000 drivers using their mobile phones illegally.
Victoria considering tougher laws for drivers using mobile phones
While Premier Daniel Andrews said there was no announcement to come on mobile phone usage behind the wheel at a press conference on Wednesday, the Victorian state government is said to be considering tightening the law in response to other states’ action, according to 3AW.
While Victoria’s fine is currently higher than NSW’s at $484, it is believed they are considering increasing it following Queensland’s steep increase.
It is not believed Victoria is planning on introducing a camera scheme similar to the one the NSW government has rolled out.
Mobile phone fines across Australia
Before the Queensland government’s announcements, South Australia had the previous highest fine for mobile phone usage behind the wheel.
The state’s fine is currently $554 and motorists will receive three demerit points.
The Northern Territory this year announced it will increase its fine from $250 to $500, while drivers will cop three demerit points.
In WA, motorists will receive a fine of $400 and three demerit points.
Offending Tasmanian drivers will get a fine of $336 and three demerit points.
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