The traffic offence to cop new $500 fine
MOTORISTS could be busted on camera using their mobile phone or failing to wear a seat belt under tough new laws that will significantly widen the camera enforcement capabilities of authorities.
The laws - set to pass state parliament this week - will pave the way for the State Government to kickstart a trial that will allow police to use cameras to nab drivers using their mobile phones behind the wheel.
A start date for the trial is yet to be announced and it is understood the Government is still deciding whether the seatbelt offence will be included.
No one will be fined if they are picked up on camera during the trial, but the laws will allow for both the mobile phone and seatbelt rules to be enforced as camera detected offences should it prove successful.
Queensland's camera-detected offences already include speeding, disobeying red lights and offences involving unregistered and uninsured vehicles.
Motorists who illegally park in disability parking bays will also face steeper penalties under other laws to come before parliament in the coming days, with the fine doubling to a whopping $533.
The Courier-Mail understands the bolstered penalty will come into effect before the end of the year, and will mean Queensland will have one of the toughest penalties in the country.
The road safety crackdown comes after about 30 people were tragically killed on Queensland roads since June 1.
The fine for the illegal use of a mobile phone while driving increased to $1000 in February under a 'get tough' approach from the Government, with 195 people caught out in the first five days of the penalty coming into effect.
The explanatory notes for the new legislation say the introduction of camera detection for mobile phone and seatbelt offences aims to "save lives" and "reduce road trauma".
"Despite public education campaigns, enforcement efforts and existing penalties, unsafe mobile phone use continues at unacceptably high levels with 70 per cent of Queensland drivers admitting to using their mobile phone while driving," it says.
"In 2018, in Queensland, 33 people lost their lives and 1359 were hospitalised with serious injuries as a result of crashes where distraction was a contributing factor."
FINES IF CAUGHT ON CAMERA
• Using a mobile phone while driving: $1000 fine and 4 demerit points
• Driver who fails to wear a seatbelt: $400 fine and 3 demerit points
• Driver who fails to ensure a passenger is wearing a seatbelt: $400 fine and 3 demerit points
Disability Parking Fines:
• Stopping in a disabled parking bay without a permit: $533 (up from $266)
Originally published as New laws: How cameras could be used to catch drivers out