RACQ quiz sparks fierce debate online

The State’s peak motoring body has set the record straight after a social media quiz asking viewers to identify unsafe driver behaviour sparked debate online.
Learner driver, dog, quiz
RACQ posted a picture on its Facebook page which showed a driver and front passenger in a vehicle, a mobile phone on the driver’s lap, a dog in the backseat and the boot of the vehicle full of luggage.

Viewers were asked to point out the illegal or unsafe behaviours they spotted in the image.

The post attracted more than 330 comments with some respondents suggesting the positioning of the woman’s seat and rear view mirror were in incorrect.

Others commented “nothing wrong with the phone on the driver’s lap, legally. The law states mobile phones cannot be used while in the driver’s hand.”

RACQ spokesperson Clare Hunter said the correct answer was four, as there was one illegal activity and three unsafe behaviours.

“The penalty in Queensland for not wearing a seatbelt is $400 and three demerit points for drivers and passengers aged 16 years or older, so both occupants in the picture could be fined,” Ms Hunter said.

“The other three - having a pet unrestrained, having a mobile phone in a driver’s lap and having a rear window obstructed - aren’t against the law in Queensland but can be very unsafe, and the rules can differ in each state, so it’s best not to take any chances.

“For example having a phone in your lap can be a huge distraction for the driver, so we urge people to set their phones and leave them alone.”

Ms Hunter said driving with an unrestrained pet and having the driver’s view through the back window obstructed could also pose a serious safety risk.

“Any loose item in a vehicle, whether that be luggage or a pet, can be very dangerous, especially in a crash as it could become a missile,” she said.

“While it’s not illegal in Queensland to have a dog unrestrained in a car, you can be fined for having a dog on your lap while driving or if the dog interferes with the driver’s control of a motor vehicle.

“Similarly, having items piled up in the boot of your car could obstruct the driver’s ability to see clearly through the window. Although there are likely other mirrors you could use, it’s safer to be able to see clearly through your rear window at all times.

“In extreme cases in Queensland, if it’s deemed the driver’s view is blocked in any way and the driver doesn’t have proper control of the vehicle, they could be fined $311 but this is assessed on a case-by-case basis.”

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The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice, not intended as legal advice or professional advice and does not take into account any person’s particular circumstances. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives and needs.