QLD cameras turned on for phone and seatbelt fines

Artificial intelligence bolsters surveillance technology

QLD cameras turned on for phone and seatbelt fines
The cameras use AI


Fines for camera-detected mobile phone and seat belt offences will begin from November 1 in Queensland after the technology rollout began in July.

The rollout and trial of the cameras, which use artificial intelligence to detect offecnces, began in July but the November 1 date will mark the start of fines for those offences.

The Transport and Main Roads Queensland says the cameras were introduced to address the dangerous behaviours of mobile phone distraction and travelling unrestrained in a vehicle with portable and fixed cameras to detect illegal mobile phone use, and failure to wear a seatbelt operating across Queensland 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in urban and regional areas.

The cameras use artificial intelligence (AI) to detect front-seat occupants committing mobile phone and seatbelt offences and have been introduced following a successful six-month trial of the technology in 2020.

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The cameras, both fixed and portable, take multiple images of every vehicle that passes, including the registration number plate, and images of the front seats of the vehicle.

If a possible offence is suspected, the image is put through an adjudication process by an authorised officer, who determines if a penalty should be issued. If no possible offence is detected by the AI, those images are automatically excluded and deleted.

The penalties

From the start of next month, the following camera related penalties will apply. Roadside enforcement by police continues as normal:

  • $1,033 and four demerit points for illegal mobile phone use while driving.
  • $413 and three demerit points for failing to wear a seatbelt. Drivers can also be fined a further $413 and three demerit points for each passenger not properly restrained.
  • Double demerit points apply for repeat mobile phone and seatbelt offences committed within a 12-month period. This means anyone persisting in these dangerous behaviours can lose their licence.

The cameras can detect mobile phone and seatbelt offences at the same time, and penalties will apply for each detected offence.

All drivers can hold a phone when safely stopped to:

  • pay for goods and services, for example at a drive through
  • gain access to or from a road-related area, such as a car park
  • present a digital driver licence or other document to police
  • get a card or money out of a phone wallet for the above purposes

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said distracted driving was a silent killer on the state’s roads, likening it to drink driving.

"Our message has always been direct and very simple: just put your phone away," Bailey says.

"Using a mobile phone while driving has the same impact as getting behind the wheel with a blood alcohol reading between 0.07 and 0.10.

"We successfully trialled these cameras last year, and have been talking about them coming to Queensland roads for two years."


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