SINCE being rolled out late last year across Queensland mobile phone and seatbelt cameras have caught around 40,000 doing the wrong thing – either using their phone whilst driving or not wearing a seat belt.
Sadly, in just under two weeks from the end of January until February 7 of this year nearly 500 people were caught a day for not wearing a seatbelt or using their phone behind the wheel.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey was shocked to see the latest round of figures.
“It’s absolutely unacceptable that we’ve seen 6,288 people caught red-handed by new mobile phone and seatbelt cameras between January 25 and February 7 – nearly 500 per day,” Mr Bailey said.
“Since November 1 (2021), the cameras have caught a total of 37,594 people who are flouting the road rules.
“These people have a clear lack of regard for themselves and those around them.
“Drivers have known these cameras were coming, and had a three-month warning period, yet 26,491 people have continued to use their phone behind the wheel.
“What’s even more concerning is that over 11,000 people aren’t wearing a seatbelt or are wearing one incorrectly.”
Mr Bailey reiterated that these cameras can be anywhere, anytime, across the whole state.
“It’s time unsafe drivers in Queensland realise it is only a matter of time until they’re caught and fined heavily for driving distracted or not wearing a seat belt,” the Minister said.
“We’re cracking down on phone fiends and those not wearing seatbelts – with new anywhere anytime high-tech cameras and heavy fines.
“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 – it’s just not on.
“What we’ve seen once again is an overrepresentation of regional Queensland in our state-wide statistics so I’m urging drivers, put down the phone, and clip up the seatbelt, or you will be caught.
Road statistics state that an average of 29 people are killed and 1284 are seriously injured each year on Queensland roads as a result of crashes where driver distraction played a part.
Mr Bailey made no apologies for hitting drivers with $1033 fines when caught on the phone behind the wheel.
“These tough penalties hit offenders where it hurts – their wallet.
“It’s simple. If you don’t want a fine, don’t break the rules,” the Minister said.
Funds from distracted driver cameras, as with all camera detected offences, are reinvested into road safety initiatives and education programs.
For more information on the Camera Detected Offence Program, visit: https://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Safety/Road-safety/Camera-Detected-Offence-Program/