Queensland drivers caught without seat belts or using phones hit with further fines from tomorrow


Queensland drivers caught by secret police cameras, using cell phones or not wearing seat belts will face heavy fines and demerit points from next week.

From the end of July, cameras were installed on Queensland roads, with warning letters sent to offending drivers.

Between July 26 and October 16, the Ministry of Transportation and Major Roads issued more than 21,000 warning letters for seat belt and cell phone violations.

The cameras are capturing drivers not wearing seat belts or on their cell phones in Queensland.(ABC News: Curtis Rodda)

More than $ 20 million in fines would have been imposed on drivers in the 82-day period had the penalties been applied.

But from November 1, there will be no more warnings and violators will be liable to fines, with the cameras set to travel to various locations across the state.

So how much will it cost drivers and how many demerit points are at stake?

Why were fines introduced?

End of July, Queensland passed new laws which made it illegal for a driver to own a cell phone (even off) in their hand or have it rest on any part of their body, including their knees.

The ministry said if a driver had a cell phone in his hand or on his lap, he was using it or intended to use it.

This represents a distraction and therefore a security risk.

“There is also the risk that he lodges behind one of the pedals and preventing your ability to safely control the vehicle, ”he said.

The ministry warned that those who break the rules should expect to be arrested with cameras in operation 24 hours a day, seven days on seven.

What are the sanctions ?

A driver who illegally uses his mobile phone may receive a $ 1,033 fine and four demerit points.

Man used cell phone while driving in black and white image taken by new camera.
Drivers will be fined if their cell phone is on their lap.(Provided: Ministry of Transport and Main Roads)

If the offense is repeated in the year, double incapacities will apply and an additional fine the same amount will be taxed.

A learner driver can lose their license of a mobile telephony offense.

The same applies to P plates but they can also be the subject of a period of good conduct of one year.

For open license drivers, two offenses in the year can lead to loss of their license or one a period of one year of good behavior.

These laws will still apply to people filmed by road cameras.

Under the new laws, anyone in a vehicle not wearing a seat belt will also be fined.

A spokesperson for the ministry said that a $ 413 fine and three demerit points would be issued to “each occupant of the vehicle detected not wearing a seat belt “.

A cell phone in a cradle on a car dashboard
Drivers with an open license can use their phone hands-free if it is in a cradle attached to your vehicle.(ABC Southwest: Sharon Kennedy)

How can I legally use my phone?

For people with open license or P2, which are green P plates, some functions of the phone can be used if it is in a cradle attached to the vehicle and if it is used hands free.

You can:

  • Use navigation apps, make and receive hands-free calls with the phone in its cradle
  • Hold your phone when your car is parked
  • Hold your phone in driveways and parking lots
  • Hold your phone at show police a digital driver’s license

You can not :

  • Hold your phone while stuck in traffic
  • Hold your phone while wait at the traffic lights
  • Hand your phone to a passenger while driving

Basically, if you touch your phone while driving your vehicle on the road and it’s not in an attached cradle, you’re in trouble.

While drivers are allowed to eat, drink or smoke while driving, they must maintain good control away from the vehicle at all times as it is an offense to drive without proper care and attention.

A wide shot of the wheeled camera.
Mobile cameras will be moved to secret locations across the state.(ABC News: Curtis Rodda)

What if I’m on red P plates or a learner’s license?

You cannot use cell phone at all while driving.

You cannot use any function of your phone including handsfree, wireless headsets, Bluetooth or speakerphone function of the telephone.

Your passengers cannot use the speakerphone function on a phone either.

What if I am a taxi or carpooling driver?

The same rules apply.

If the phone is in a cradle, drivers can access it use their carpooling apps or take calls.

A phone screen opens with the in-car navigation app.
Taxis and carpooling drivers can access navigation apps while driving if the phone is in a cradle.(DariuszSankowski, Pixabay)

What about left hand drives or vintage cars?

If you have an old car or have a left-hand steering wheel, you will be exempt from seat belt penalties.

“Seatbelt fines will not be imposed if the vehicle is a historic vehicle that does not have a seat belt team and is not required to have seat belts.

What if I am wrongly fined?

You can dispute it by choosing it to be heard in court.

Information on how to proceed will be on the notice of violation.

If you were not driving the car at the time of the alleged incident, you will have 28 days from the date of the notice To request a transfer of the infringement notice to the competent person.

The Department warned that cameras use artificial intelligence (AI), are high resolution and will produce clear images.

Car driver with right hand on steering wheel and cellphone in left hand
The cameras will be used 24 hours a day, seven days a week on public roads.(Transport and main roads)

When a possible infringement is detected on the cameras, they will be examined by an authorized officer which will analyze all the objects in the image.

This is done to confirm whether it is a mobile phone before issuing a fine.

Violation notices for violations detected by camera will be issued to the registered driver of the vehicle.

What about my private life?

The department said if no breaches were detected by the AI, the footage would definitely be deleted by the system within an hour to be taken.

“Images sent to TMR [the Department] for the award should be kept for audit purposes, ”he said.

“Any images or data captured through the cameras which are not deleted by the system due to a possible infringement detected, are encrypted and securely stored in accordance with the requirements of privacy legislation. “

The department said the cameras were designed to include “stringent security requirements” to detect and capture only footage of seat belt and cell phone offenses.

The ministry said that the intended use of the cameras only applies to public roads and did not include the capture of people leaving private property such as driveways.

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