Local police support move to increase fine for phone use


Victoria Stone-Meadows


Email Victoria
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Port Douglas Police Sergeant Damien Meadows. Image: Newsport.

A hefty fine and possible loss of licence are on the table for motorists caught using their phone while driving in Queensland.

The proposal includes a fine of up to $1000 and possibly loss of licence for a second offence.

Transport Minister Mark Bailey will introduce the proposed changes of a three-day Driver Distraction National Summit starting in Brisbane today.

Port Douglas Police Sergeant, Damien Meadows, said he supports any measure that will help reduce deaths on Queensland’s roads.

“With the skyrocketing road toll statewide and with police at the front line for enforcement for this, any measure that can be implemented that will reduce the road trauma throughout the state is welcome,” he said.

“$1000 and a loss of licence is nothing to laugh at and if that’s what it takes to make a difference then so be it. 

“It’s a problem throughout the state and people in our society are attached to mobile devices.

“They need to get it through their skulls that when driving around in a tonne and half of steel, phones are not something to play with.”

Sergeant Meadows said there is no shortage of places in the Douglas Shire to safely pull over if you need to use your phone.

“If the phone rings and you don’t have a Bluetooth system in your car, there are ample place to pull over; don’t take the risk of driving while using your phone.

“Getting fined for it is one thing but being responsible for the death of a person is another and that is the consequence of doing this.”

In 2017, 38 people were killed, and 1224 people hospitalised by distracted drivers on Queensland’s roads.

Minister Bailey said research shows distracted driving is as dangerous as drunk driving.

“People are literally killing themselves and killing others because they can’t keep their hands off their phone,” Mr Bailey said.

Recently a young Sydney driver was killed in a horrific head-on crash after taking a Snapchat of her passenger in the back seat.

“Families and the wider community forever pay the price for that decision to check social media or read a text,” Mr Bailey said.

“It’s not worth it and I think our laws need to more clearly send that message.

“We’ve seen a major cultural shift in our attitude to drunk driving and we need to have that conversation now about our obsession with screen time while driving."

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