RACQ spokesperson Renee Smith said the new enforcement measures would help save lives with driver distraction and a lack of seatbelt use both still major factors in crashes.
“Sadly, 29 people are killed each year in Queensland in crashes involving driver distraction and a further 43 people who lost their lives last year weren’t wearing a seatbelt,” Ms Smith said.
“Motorists snapped by the fixed and mobile cameras while not wearing a seatbelt or using their phone will be given a warning as part of a three-month grace period, before penalties are enforced from October.
“Those caught using a mobile phone while driving face a $1,033 fine and four demerit points, with double demerit points for second time offenders, while those snapped not wearing a seatbelt face a $413 and 3 demerit points.”
Ms Smith also warned new regulations were being proposed around the definition of the use of a mobile phone while driving in Queensland.
“If these rules are passed later this month, it will be illegal for motorists to have a mobile phone on any part of their body while driving including on your lap or wedged between your body and the seatbelt – regardless of whether the phone is in use or not,” she said.
“There’ll be some exceptions, for example, if you’re using your phone to pay for goods and services at a drive through while the vehicle is stationary, if you’re using your phone under police direction such as showing a border pass or if the phone is in your pocket.”
Ms Smith said these proposed changes and the increase in enforcement was designed to catch those breaking the law and ultimately save lives.
“The easiest way to avoid getting caught is to not break the rules in the first place - so if you’re driving set your phone to Do Not Disturb and leave it alone,” she said.
“More than 135 people have died on our roads in crashes already this year, so we’re asking drivers to do the right thing behind the wheel.
“We’re also pleased to see stricter drink driving reforms, including all first-time drink drivers will need to complete a mandatory education course in order to get their licence back and also welcome news the interlock program will be applied to first time mid-to-high-range drink drivers.
“We’ve been advocating for these measures for more than a decade to help reduce drink driving and improve road safety in Queensland.”