It’s fair to say that we live in a connected world where quick and easy communication is expected and the modern tools used to communicate are never far from our hands. Enter the mobile phone and the ongoing conflict with safe driving standards.
The world has embraced mobile communication technology like nothing else and we have a generation of people who struggle to ignore the sound of an inbound call or message creating potential for danger on our roads.
In Queensland, laws have been in place for many years to control the use of mobile devices, and together with ongoing road safety campaigns governments and community organisations have strived to minimise the risk as much as possible. Whilst the community supports these ongoing campaigns evidence suggests the problem is growing rather than dissipating. In response, the Queensland Government has increased the penalties for using a mobile phone whilst driving from February 2020. So, we thought it would be helpful to review the law as it currently stands and touch on the changes to penalties that will take effect soon.
Current laws in Queensland provide that using a mobile phone held in your hand is illegal whilst driving even if you're stopped in traffic. This includes:
There are additional restrictions for learner drivers and P1 Provisional Drivers under the age of 25. If that applies to you then you must not use hands-free, wireless headsets or a mobile phone's loudspeaker function. (If you’re a learner or P1 driver we recommend checking out www.qld.gov.au/transport/licensing/driver-licensing/applying/provisional/restrictions#mobile for more detail.
Current penalties (as at 2 Dec 2019) include a fine of $400 and 3 demerit points. Double demerit points apply for second or subsequent offences committed within 1 year.
From 1 Feb 2020 increased penalties will apply as a strategy to help deter people from this dangerous behaviour. The penalty for using a mobile phone while driving will increase from $400 and 3 demerit points to $1,000 and 4 demerit points. It’s important to note that double demerit points will still apply for a second mobile phone offence within 12 months leading to a $1,000 fine and 8 points. Ouch!!
Bicycle riders will also be fined $1,000, but no demerit points will be issued.
There is plenty of debate in the community around the dangers of using mobile devices whilst driving, but the research is quite clear. Using a mobile phone while driving can be as risky as drink driving. Your response time while texting has been compared to that of a driver with a blood alcohol reading of between 0.07 and 0.10. It’s a sobering thought and just isn’t worth the risk!
The team at Learn2Drive Driving School support all road safety initiatives. It’s about saving lives. If you’re after quality training, great trainers and a welcoming learning environment, then you need Learn2Drive Driving School where you’ll never get stuck in neutral!
Learn 2 Drive Driving School operates in the Toowoomba region. LIKE us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/learn2drivedrivingschool/?fref=ts
Written and Published by www.presentprofessionally.com.au
Tracey Wilson, instructor and owner of Learn 2 Drive Driving School