- Motorists face stiffer penalties for using mobile phone
- Penalties being introduced following ‘worst Easter road roll in more than 20 years’
- Police looking at expanding automatic number place recognition
Motorists repeatedly caught texting or using their mobile phone while driving will face stiffer penalties under changes being rolled out by the Palaszczuk Government.
The tougher penalties are among a range of recommendations arising from April’s Safer Roads, Safer Queensland forum at Parliament House where top level talks were held with road safety experts on ways to address an alarming spike in the 2015 Easter road toll.
Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services Jo-Ann Miller and Minister for Main Roads and Road Safety Mark Bailey said all of the recommendations are strongly supported by key stakeholders, including the Police, RACQ, CARRS-Q, Bicycle Queensland, the Motorcycle Riders Association of Queensland and the Queensland Trucking Association.
“It was the worst Easter road toll in Queensland in more than 20 years and we went into the forum with a collective determination to turn these terrible statistics around,” Ms Miller said.
Minister Miller said the Queensland Police Service would investigate expanding automatic number plate recognition technology in police vehicles.
“For too long, dangerous unregistered and unlicensed drivers have been over-represented in crash statistics. Greater use of this technology will give police the resources they need to target reckless and irresponsible drivers.
“We will expand training for our road policing officers to better detect and deter broader criminal activities, along with enhanced drug driving operations across the state,” Ms Miller said.
Minister Bailey said immediate measures would be taken to target distracted drivers and people who take drugs and get behind the wheel.
“Drivers caught committing repeat mobile phone offences within a year can expect double demerits, similar to those imposed on repeat offenders who don’t wear a seatbelt or a motorcycle helmet, or who exceed the speed limit by more than 20 km/h.”
“We will form a Citizen’s Taskforce that will report direct to government on important road safety issues and the steps that need to be taken to make our roads safer.
“Road safety is everyone’s business, but if it’s left to governments alone it will never work. It is the responsibility of all of us.”