Southern Qld's worst drivers: 3,483 busted on phones

RACQ has declared now was the time to start the mobile phone detection camera trial, after new figures showed a staggering number of drivers had been caught using their phones behind the wheel.

Department of Transport and Main Roads data provided to RACQ revealed 27,490 motorists were busted using a handheld device while driving in Queensland during 2018 and 2019, with 3,483 of those fines handed out in the Southern region alone.

RACQ’s Lauren Ritchie said the dangers of distraction were well known and drivers were putting lives at risk by using their phone while driving. 

“This data was recorded over a two year period before tough new penalties were introduced on 1 February this year and is one of the reasons harsher fines were needed and the trial of mobile phone cameras was introduced,” Ms Ritchie said.

“The mobile phone cameras were due to be rolled out in April but delayed due to COVID-19, but now that the police have returned to regular enforcement, including mobile speed cameras and RBT operations, we believe it’s time the planned trial got under way.”

Ms Ritchie said alarmingly 576 Queensland motorists were also given double demerit points for two or more mobile phone offences within a 12-month period in 2018-2019.

“Now if you’re caught using your mobile phone illegally you will be fined $1000, and if caught twice in one year you’ll lose your licence,” she said.

“We’re hoping the risk of a hefty fine and losing four demerit points and your licence, coupled with the right enforcement from police, will change the behaviour of some motorists.

“We encourage every motorist to set their phone to Do Not Disturb before hitting the road and take responsibility for their actions beyond the wheel.”