Deputy Premier and Minister for Police Troy Grant and Minister for Roads Duncan Gay today announced tougher demerit point penalties for mobile phone offences in a bid to get hands off phones and eyes back on the road.
Starting during this year’s Christmas holiday, mobile phone offences will be added to double demerit periods.
Further, an additional demerit point will be added to the existing standard penalty of three points from early next year.
“Holding your mobile phone to call or text while driving is extremely dangerous and just plain reckless for you, your passengers and everyone else on the road,” Mr Grant said.
“The road toll is up on last year and every single motorist needs to get real and start thinking about their behaviour behind the wheel.
“While driving at 60 kilometres per hour, if you glance at your phone for two seconds, you travel around 33 metres blind – that’s a scary fact and exactly why we’re getting tougher on mobile phone offences.
“We know double demerits are an effective road safety initiative with deaths on our roads during holiday periods reducing by a third since they were introduced.
“By expanding them to mobile phone offences, we’re hoping motorists will heed the message resulting in fewer deaths and injuries.
Mr Gay said the $319 current fine has remained the same, but using your phone illegally while driving now cost more points.
“I’ve been looking at what more I can do to deter people using their mobile phones while driving – particularly after seeing recent figures,” Mr Gay said.
“Last year there were about 35,000 fines handed out for the illegal use of a mobile phone – that is just too many.
“I am not a fan of draconian fines but we need to see these stats go down – and if this doesn’t deter motorists, then I’ll hit them in the hip pocket.
“I’ll do whatever it takes to get the message out – using your mobile phone while driving can kill.”
Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander, Assistant Commissioner John Hartley said there are many instances where mobile phone use whilst driving has led to serious injury and fatal crashes on our roads.
“Illegal mobile phone use is a contributing factor in many crashes on our roads and we welcome any deterrent that would convince drivers to remain completely focused on the road and avoid using their mobile devices, no matter what the circumstances,” Assistant Commissioner Hartley said.