New cameras that detect people illegally using mobile phones and not wearing a seatbelt while driving will start appearing on Queensland roads from today.
The fixed and portable cameras, which will operate on both urban and regional roads, have the ability to see into vehicles and detect whether any mobile phone or seatbelt offence has been committed.
“Our message has been direct and simple… just put your phone away,” Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said.
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“Already in 2021, more than 150 people have lost their lives on Queensland’s roads.
“If you are driving a vehicle, leave your phone alone… If you don’t, your selfish actions endanger not only your own safety, but others you share the road with.”
Those caught by the new cameras will be given a warning letter as part of a three-month grace period before penalties are enforced from 1 November.
The fine for illegally using a mobile phone is $1,033 and four demerit points, however, motorists will cop double demerits if caught twice in 12 months.
RACQ Spokesperson Renee Smith said the updated regulations meant it was illegal to have a phone in your hand or anywhere on your body while driving.
“If you have a phone resting on any part of your body, whether it’s in use or not – you are committing an offence,” Ms Smith said.
However, there are a few exceptions to the new rules.
“Motorists can use their phone when the vehicle is stationary to pay for goods and services, for example at a drive-through, to enter an area like a car park, or present digital documentation, like a driver licence or border pass to police,” Ms Smith said.
“Open and P2 licence holders can also continue to use their phones in a cradle attached to the vehicle, including to accept calls, or in the case of taxi and ride-share drivers, to accept or finish a trip, but it’s illegal to pass a phone to a passenger.
“If you’re using your phone this way then set it up before you drive and then leave it alone. If not then store it away somewhere where you can’t see the screen, like in your pocket.”