The RACQ is calling for the start of a mobile phone detection camera trial, now that things are getting back to normal following the coronavirus shut down.
The trial was due to start in April this year, but had to be postponed because of Covid-19, along with mobile speed cameras and RBT operations.
Now that speed cameras and RBT operations are back, there are calls for the mobile phone detection trial to begin, especially given the last couple of years of data.
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Information from the Department of Transport and Main Roads reveals that 27,490 motorists were busted using a handheld device while driving in Queensland during 2018 and 2019.
5,287 of those fines were handed out in the South Eastern region alone.
RACQ’s Lauren Ritchie says drivers are well aware of the dangers of distraction, and are putting lives at risk by using their phone while driving.
“This data was recorded over a two year period before tough new penalties were introduced on 1 February this year and is one of the reasons harsher fines were needed and the trial of mobile phone cameras was introduced.
“The mobile phone cameras were due to be rolled out in April but delayed due to COVID-19, but now that the police have returned to regular enforcement, including mobile speed cameras and RBT operations, we believe it’s time the planned trial got under way,” Ms Ritchie said.
Alarmingly, the data also shows that 576 Queenslanders were given double demerit points for two or more mobile phone offences within a 12-month period in 2018-2019.
“Now if you’re caught using your mobile phone illegally you will be fined $1000, and if caught twice in one year you’ll lose your licence.
“We’re hoping the risk of a hefty fine and losing four demerit points and your licence, coupled with the right enforcement from police, will change the behaviour of some motorists.
“We encourage every motorist to set their phone to Do Not Disturb before hitting the road and take responsibility for their actions beyond the wheel,” Ms Ritchie said.