Industry backs Queensland mobile phone safety call

Bailey reiterates harsher fines for drivers caught illegally using phones

Industry backs Queensland mobile phone safety call
ATA CEO Ben Maguire, Queensland transport minister Mark Bailey, and QTA CEO Gary Mahon


Against the backdrop of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) SafeT360 truck, Queensland transport minister Mark Bailey has reminded the state of its road safety responsibilities as tougher mobile phone penalties come into effect on February 1.

Pointed as much at motorists – if not more – as it is at trucking, the penalties for illegally using a mobile phone while driving increase from $400 and three demerit points to a $1,000 fine and four demerit points.

Double demerits still apply to all drivers for a second mobile phone offence within 12 months, equating to another $1,000 fine and eight points, which could cost most people their licence.

Bailey points to research showing using a mobile phone while driving can be as risky as drink driving.

"We’re cracking down and being unapologetically tough on this," he says.

"We lost 33 Queenslanders from distraction on our roads last year; 1,300 hospitalisations as well.

"These are the toughest laws in Australia, we have to do this to save lives on Queensland roads."

His message is echoed to industry by Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) CEO Gary Mahon.

"Our message is don’t be a dill, put the phone down," he says in another news report.

"It’s not worth losing your life over whatever might be on your phone."

Why ARTIO NSW supports mobile phone detection reforms, here

Meanwhile, Bailey heeds industry’s efforts in addressing road safety from its end, particularly around motorist caution around heavy vehicles.

"This SafeT360 educational truck is a fantastic initiative by the Australian Trucking Association," he says.

"It targets particularly young people driving around heavy vehicles and how to do that safely … young people tend to be our riskiest age group on the roads.

"I commend them for getting that message across."

ATA communications manager Emily Mills tells ATN: "We’re delighted Minister Bailey had the opportunity to experience the SafeT360 exhibition and understand the important work we are doing in the road safety space.

"16-25 year olds are the most overrepresented group of drivers involved in crashes on our roads, and research shows that interactive messaging and hands-on education is the most effective way to change their behaviour.

"Using virtual reality and interactive messaging, SafeT360 teaches young road users about the dangers of distraction and how to stay safe, whether they are behind the wheel or on foot."


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