Rampant breaches of texting while driving exposed in Qld

Thousands of people have been issued warning letters as new hi-tech cameras reveal shocking behaviour on Queensland’s roads.

Nearly 6000 Queenslanders were busted illegally using their phones behind the wheel in just three weeks amid a new crackdown on road safety breaches.

Hi-tech cameras have been rolled out across the state to target those breaking road rules, carrying a hefty penalty for texting while driving and flouting seatbelt laws.

The cameras zeroed-in on roads from July 26 and had caught more than 6800 Queensland drivers up until August 14.

Of these, 5875 drivers were caught illegally using their mobile phones and 948 involved front-seat passengers not wearing a seat belt or wearing the safety device incorrectly.

Fortunately for those thousands of motorists, the crackdown was only issuing warning letters – the hefty fines will be handed out from November 1.

Penalties will include a $1033 fine and the loss of four demerit points if busted using a phone behind the wheel and a $413 fine for not wearing a seatbelt.

The new technology was being deployed across the state in both urban and regional areas with their locations changing frequently, a Transport and Main Roads spokesperson said in a statement provided to NCA NewsWire.

“Drivers and passengers committing the illegal behaviours should assume they can be caught anywhere, anytime,” they said.

“Camera locations are selected following a risk-based data analysis of crashes where injuries or fatalities have occurred and where using a mobile phone illegally or failure to wear a seatbelt was a contributing factor to the crash.

“These crashes occur everywhere in the state, so you can expect to have the cameras placed on roads across southeast Queensland, up to the far north and out towards the west and central regions.”

Transport Minister Mark Bailey last month acknowledged the penalties were tough but said the aggressive stance was needed to eliminate driver distraction after 43 people who died in crashes in 2020 in Queensland weren’t wearing a seatbelt.

“So far in 2021, 136 people have died on Queensland roads – 12 more than at the same time last year,” he said in early July.

“The numbers are shocking, particularly when you consider that for every life lost, another 27 people are treated in hospital.

“These deaths and injuries have a shattering impact on communities across the state.”

Originally published as Rampant breaches of texting while driving exposed in Queensland

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