Recent Changes To Mobile Phone-related Traffic Offences

On the 1 September 2015 the Queensland Government introduced new laws designed to target drivers caught using their mobile phones on the road.

This article provides a brief overview of Queensland’s current laws relating to the use of mobile phones while driving and explains how these new provisions impact drivers across Queensland.

Can I use my phone while driving?

In Queensland it is an offence for a driver to “use” a mobile phone they are holding in their hands while their vehicle is moving or stationary but not parked.

“Use” includes holding the phone to your ear, sending or reading a text message, turning on or off a phone or “operating any other function of the phone”.

This means that you can use a blue tooth or hands free device. Except if the driver is under 25 and driving on their provisional or learner’s license. These drivers cannot use their mobile phones at all (even if it is being used via a blue tooth or hands free device).

Both these offences carry a 3 demerit point penalty as well as a standard fine of $353 (although the size of the fine can be increased in some circumstances).

What impact do these new laws have?

On 1 September 2015 a new law was introduced to increase the penalty for repeat offenders of the mobile phone offences outlined above. This new regulation imposes 3 additional demerit points (for a total of 6 points) on a driver caught for mobile phone offences within a year of a previous offence under the same sections.

This provision will apply to any “mobile phone offences” (the offences mentioned above) committed on or after 1 September 2015.

These laws have been introduced as part of the government’s recent safe driving awareness campaign.

For more information on the new laws see the following pages:

http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2015/8/31/distracted-drivers-targeted-in-awareness-campaign

http://jointhedrive.qld.gov.au/distractions

Are there any other circumstances where I can incur double demerit points?

The concept of “double demerit point” punishment for particular offending is not new in Queensland.

Where a driver is found guilty of one of the below offences within one year of having been convicted under the same section, double demerit points will be incurred:

  • A driver failing to wear a seatbelt
  • A motor bike rider failing to wear a helmet
  • Driving more than 20km/h over the speed limit
    • Between 20km/h and 30km/h over the limit – 4 demerit points
    • Between 30 and 40km/h over the limit – 6 demerit points
    • More than 40km/h over limit – 8 demerit points

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