In just under two weeks (25 January – 7 February), 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 25 January and 7 February – nearly 500 per day,” Mr Bailey said.
“Since 1 November (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,” he 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.
“On average 29 people are killed and 1284 seriously injured each year on Queensland roads as a result of crashes where driver distraction played a part. Last year almost 40 per cent of lives lost and people seriously injured in road crashes where they weren’t wearing a seatbelt occurred outside significant urban areas.
“Given only 15 per cent of Queensland’s population live outside significant urban areas, this is a large over-representation and one this initiative aims to reduce.”
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,” he said. “It’s simple. If you don’t want a fine, don’t break the rules.
“The funds from distracted driver cameras, as with all camera detected offences, are reinvested in road safety initiatives and education programs.
“This year alone, we have over $1.7 billion invested in road safety initiatives to prioritise road safety upgrades, improve driver education, make school zones safer and develop policies to reduce road crashes and trauma.
“Thanks to this investment, we can roll out new technologies like the school zone and roadworks cameras and the successful StreetSmarts initiative, which has brought us campaigns like #LiftLegend and Drive smarter, not faster.”
For more information on the Camera Detected Offence Program, visit: https://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Safety/Road-safety/Camera-Detected-Offence-Program/