Being caught using a mobile phone while driving in Queensland is about to get a lot more expensive.
The Queensland Government has announced any driver caught using a mobile phone behind the wheel will be fined $1000 and four demerit points.
For drivers caught twice within 12 months, double demerit points apply and they may now lose their licence.
Queensland will also trial cameras recently introduced in New South Wales to detect mobile phone usage.
The new laws come into effect on February 1, 2020.
Currently, the fine is $400 and three demerit points. Repeat offenders within 12 months receive double demerit points.
The new fines make Queensland the costliest state or territory in which to be caught using a mobile behind the wheel. South Australia is a distant second with a fine of $534 and three demerit points.
Like in other states, you’re only permitted to use a hands-free or cradle-mounted phone in Queensland to make or answer a call or use the navigation while driving.
The rules are stricter for learner and P1 drivers under 25, who can’t use hands-free devices at all. They’re also prohibited from using the loudspeaker function of their phone or that of any of their passengers.
According to the Queensland Government, an average of 25 people are killed and 1235 seriously injured each year in the state as a result of driver distraction.
“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,” said Transport Minister Mark Bailey.
“It’s a deadly habit that needs to stop.”
MORE: Queensland coverage