Huge number of fines reveal Qld's distraction problem: RACQ

RACQ has issued a serious warning to motorists to stop using their mobile phones illegally behind the wheel, after it was revealed 2300 fines had been handed out in Queensland since tough new penalties were introduced on 1 February 2020.

The Courier Mail reported 1569 of those fines had been sent to the State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) for enforcement action.

Club spokesperson Lauren Ritchie said it was incredibly disappointing to see thousands of motorists had been busted doing the wrong thing in the last six months.

“These fines were introduced as a deterrent because Queenslanders clearly have a problem with driver distraction,” Ms Ritchie said.

“The majority of motorists who’ve been caught have had to refer their fine to SPER, which means it’s clear that motorists can’t afford these fines.

“If you’re slapped with a fine you also lose four demerit points straight up and another eight with a fine if you’re caught twice in 12 months, not to mention another $1000 fine.

“The best way to avoid a fine is to not do the wrong thing and that’s what every driver should do when they get behind the wheel.”

Ms Ritchie said mobile phone detection cameras were currently being trialled in Queensland and would hopefully act as a further deterrent to motorists to put the phone down.

“These cameras have been deployed across the State and the trial will run until Christmas but no fines will be issues until the cameras have been deemed successful and rolled out permanently,” she said.

“These cameras will ensure Queensland motorists have nowhere to hide. Drivers are more likely to change their behaviour if they think there’s a chance they’ll be caught.

“Please, set your phone to Do Not Disturb before driving and leave it alone. It’s the best way to avoid distractions.”