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Tiny detail in photo lands driver with $1,100 fine: 'Not the smartest'

Poor passenger behaviour has landed this driver in hot water.

A Brisbane driver is seeing red after copping a $1,100 fine for his partner’s passenger seat behaviour.

The motorist was slapped with the penalty after the road safety camera deemed that the woman wasn’t buckled in. But that’s not the case, according to the driver.

“I got hit with a $1,100 fine for my partner not wearing her seatbelt "correctly" in the passenger seat,” the driver wrote online. “As you can see in the photos the seatbelt is worn correctly but her jumper is covering the seatbelt across her chest.”

The passenger wearing the seatbelt with the buckle circled (left) and the seatbelt circled about the woman's shoulder (right).
The driver pointed out that his partner was wearing a seatbelt under her jumper. Reddit/charliekng07

In a series of images posted to social media, the author circled evidence of the seatbelt buckled in at the woman’s waist, and pulled over her shoulder.

“You can still see it buckled in and you can see the shoulder strap coming out of the jumper,” the motorist argued before asking for advice. “Just wondering if this is worth disputing and what the process is like if I do.”

Users were left pretty confused over the odd way to wear a seat. The driver explained further in a comment. “She was wearing the seatbelt and decided to put the jumper on over the seatbelt. Admittedly it's not the smartest thing to do, but also don't think it's a $1,100 mistake haha.”

How the cameras work

Speaking to Yahoo News Australia, a spokesperson for the Queensland Revenue Office explained how seatbelt cameras take images of each vehicle travelling in the lane of traffic that the camera is monitoring.

“The images are then filtered by artificial intelligence software which detects if there was possible failure to correctly wear a seatbelt by the driver or front seat passenger,” they said. “If a possible offence is detected, the images are reviewed by an authorised officer within QRO to determine whether to issue an infringement.

“If an infringement notice is issued and the registered operator feels they were incorrectly fined, the infringement holder may submit an enquiry online by going to www.qld.gov.au/FineEnquiry to have the matter reviewed.”

Those who’ve been fined also have the option to elect to have the matter heard in court.

Motorist fights fine

A Queensland driver who fought a seatbelt fine and won is Gold Coast resident Louise Hess, whose daughter was caught with the seatbelt under her left arm, rather than over her shoulder, while in the front passenger seat.

A photo clearly showed the 14-year-old girl wearing her seatbelt incorrectly, but Ms Hess pushed back against the infringement on the grounds that it was unreasonable to ask her as the driver to monitor her child’s arm and seatbelt placement while operating the vehicle.

Louise Hess and her daughter in the car (left) and Louise Hess close up (right).
Louise Hess disputed the fine, arguing it was unreasonable to ask her to monitor the position of her daughter's seatbelt while driving. Source: Seven News

“You check your kids and everyone in the car before you start driving but I didn’t think I would be expected to constantly watch the position of a strap of a seatbelt,” Ms Jess told Seven News.

Hours before the matter was due to be heard in court, the Queensland Department for Transport and Main Roads dropped the case.

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