By Yujin Luo
The Queensland Government is going to hit the pocket of many drivers who use mobile devices behind the wheel as an alternative route to prevent an increase in the number of car accidents.
New penalties for distracted driving in the state will come into effect on 1 February 2020. Motorists caught on their telephones will be fined $1000, and demerit points will be increasing from 3 to 4. Yet, if drivers are caught a second time within 12 months, merit points will be doubled, and they may lose their licences.
Because of distracted and inattentive drivers and riders, 33 people died in road crashes in 2018, while 1358 people were in hospital due to the same factor.
Further, due to difficulties in investigating distraction as one of the causes of a crash, road safety researchers believe that the number of people being killed and injured in accidents caused by the use of the mobile phone is under-reported.
A driver’s response time while texting is comparable to that of a driver with a blood alcohol reading of between 0.07 and 0.10.
“Queenslanders told us they wanted action on this issue. Drivers using their phones illegally behind the wheel will pay a high price, but that penalty falls well short of the costs and trauma our community carries for those killed or injured in crashes caused by inattentive drivers,”, said Minister of Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey.
Furthermore, the best time of the year Christmas is getting close to us, Mr Bailey believes that Christmas holidays might be involved driving long distances, which could involve more with distracted driving.
“Put the phone in the glovebox or set it to Do Not Disturb so you’re not distracted by it.” Mr Bailey suggested. Under these changes, “Queensland now has the toughest penalties for distracted driving in Australia,” he completed.