Queensland is about to start getting tougher on people who are using their mobile phones behind the wheel. Starting February 1st 2020, fines for using your phone while driving will be more than double to $1,000 with potential demerit points lost increasing to four. What's looking tough is that any subsequent mobile phone related offences committed within the same calendar year can see you losing double the demerit points. This means two offensives could put you at risk of losing your licence.
38 people in Australia died in 2017 on our roads due to distracted driving, with another 1224 hospitalised. Surprisingly the Queensland Government has published reports that a distracted driver using their mobile phone has the same response time as a driver with a blood-alcohol level of 0.07 to 0.10, that's double double the current legal limit.
According to the current legislation, your car doesn't even need to be moving to cop a fine. Even if your car is stopped in traffic you can still be fined for using your phone. Texting, changing songs, or simply turning off is prohibited and can see drivers penalised.
Queensland is far from along in its quest to crack down on distracted drivers. The NSW State Government has implemented camera dedicated to catching texting drivers in the act in a bid to prevent fatalities on the roads by up to 30 percent. QLD is set to follow suite in implementing these cameras making them a soon to be common feature in suburban streets.
It's time to start improving our driving habits and resist the temptation to grab your phone while driving.
South Australia currently has the highest fine for using a mobile phone while driving at $534, followed by Victoria at $484 and the ACT at $470. Queensland is set to change these records.