$1000 fine for using mobile phone while driving
ILLEGALLY using a mobile phone while driving is about to get a lot more expensive.
The Queensland Government has announced tougher penalties for drivers who use their phone while driving, beginning on February 1, 2020.
The penalties are increasing from a $400 fine and three demerit points, to a $1,000 fine and four demerit points. This is to help deter people from this dangerous behaviour, according to the Queensland Government website.
Whitsunday Police Sergeant Barry Haran said people should remember it's all forms of phone use, not just talking.
"It's texting, checking messages, social posting - everything," Sergeant Haran said.
"The government's getting serious about phone use while driving. If someone is caught a second time, within 12 months, the penalty doubles to eight demerit points, which would mean losing your licence when the eight points are added to the previous four."
Research shows using a mobile phone while driving can be as risky as drink driving. A driver's response time while texting on a phone is comparable to that of a driver with a blood alcohol reading of between 0.07 and 0.10, according to the Queensland Government website.
The increased penalties mean that some licence holders, like learners and P-platers, could lose their licence from just one offence.
Double demerit points will still apply to all drivers for a second mobile phone offence within 12 months. This is another $1,000 fine and eight points and could cost most people their licence. Bicycle riders will also be fined $1,000, but no demerit points will be issued.
While the penalties are increasing, there are no changes to the current rules for mobile phone use while driving.
Read more about the rules for mobile phone use while driving here.