Taken from the Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS) newsletter.

Mobile phone detection cameras will roll out on Cairns roads from this week – and there is bad news for anyone who thinks they can scam the system. The Queensland-wide trial will send cameras into the field across the state to capture anyone driving while using or phone or without a seatbelt. They will be shifted around the state until Christmas, and the Queensland Government is not giving any hints away about when the Far North will get its turn. A departmental spokeswoman said the cameras could be anywhere in the region at any time, and trying to sneak in an occasional text message could be expensive.

Transport Minister Mark Bailey made no apology for cracking down hard on drivers who flouted the law.  “Thirty-three Queensland lives were confirmed to have been lost in 2018 alone due to driver distraction, while another 1359 people were hospitalised,” he said. “That number was likely higher due to carnage at crash scenes often making it difficult for forensic experts to determine if distraction was a cause.”

Legislation was passed earlier this month to permit the cameras to enter the road enforcement arsenal.  More than 2300 offences have been detected and fines totalling $2.3 million issued since the $1000 fine for distracted driving took effect in February. The drivers all received four demerit points, and eight were also booked a second time for illegally using a mobile phone and lost a further eight points.

RACQ spokesman Paul Turner said the organisation backed the trial to the hilt.  “Mobile phone detection cameras give police greater ability to catch those doing the wrong thing, risking their lives and everyone else on the road by using their mobile phones,” Mr Turner said.  “We have to wake up to ourselves and understand driver distraction is as dangerous as drink driving. If you don’t want to get caught, it’s simple, set your phone to ‘do not disturb’ and leave it alone while driving.”

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