The State’s Transport Minister has slammed the almost 2000 motorists who were caught either using their mobile phones while driving or not wearing a seatbelt in the first week of the state’s new covert cameras being in action.
The cameras were installed in July, but only started fining drivers when new laws came into place on November 1.
In the first week alone, 1782 people were snapped doing the wrong thing, enraging Transport Minister Mark Bailey.
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“The figures are, to be quite frank, shocking,” Mr Bailey said.
Of those, 1504 were for mobile phone offences, while 278 were for not wearing seatbelts.
Perhaps the most shocking, however, is that dozens of drivers were caught twice in only a matter of days.
“A total of 57 drivers were caught two or more times in the first four days, which means the offence attracts double demerit points,” Mr Bailey said.
“If this rate keeps up, more than a dozen people a day face losing their licence.”
Motorists caught touching their phones behind the wheel face a $1,033 fine and four demerit points, while failing to wear a seatbelt carries a fine of $413 and 3 demerit points.
“We know using a phone while driving is the equivalent of getting behind the wheel with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.07 – 0.10, so this is like us having 1504 drunk drivers on Queensland roads, it’s unacceptable,” Mr Bailey said.
Officials have confirmed the funds from the fines will be reinvested in road safety initiatives and education.
“By law, all money from camera-detected offences must be spent on road safety,” Mr Bailey said.
“That includes unlocking new technologies like the school zone and roadworks cameras to be rolled out in high-risk areas from next year.
“It’s simple – if you don’t want a fine, don’t break the rules.”