Mobile Phone & Seatbelt Detection Cameras

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Mobile phone and seatbelt detection cameras - get the facts

Portable and fixed cameras to detect illegal mobile phone use, and failure to wear a seatbelt are operating across Queensland. The cameras operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in urban and regional areas. You can be caught anywhere, anytime.

The cameras were introduced to address the dangerous behaviours of mobile phone distraction and travelling unrestrained in a vehicle.

Research shows mobile phone distraction quadruples the risk of crashing and is just as dangerous as drink driving. If you take your eyes off the road for just two seconds, in a vehicle moving at 60km/h, you will travel more than 33 metres while distracted.

A properly worn seatbelt is proven to reduce the risk of serious injury by 50 per cent and death by 45 per cent. A crash without one, at just 40km/h, has the same impact on your body as falling from a two-storey building.


The technology

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

The cameras, both fixed and portable, take multipleimages 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 putthrough a rigorous 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 1 November 2021, 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. Learner drivers will lose their licence after just one mobile phone offence. P-Platers can also lose their licence after just one mobile phone offence.


Mobile phone rules

The road rules relating to mobile phone use are clear. A driver must not have a mobile phone in their hand or resting on any part of their body, including their lap, while driving – regardless of whether the phone is on or in use.

Open and P2 licence holders can use a phone hands-free in a cradle attached to the vehicle. This can include to accept calls, use navigation apps, or skip a song. They can also use a phone hands-free if it’s in a pocket of clothing or a pouch. However, you must not touch or look at the phone.

It is illegal for Learner and P1 licence holders to use a phone in any way while driving. This includes using navigation apps, Bluetooth, and hands-free functions. Passengers of these drivers also can’t use phones on loudspeaker.

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.

Seatbelt rules

Your seatbelt can be the difference between life and death, and the seatbelt rules have not changed. Except in very limited circumstances for drivers of certain classes of vehicles, it is the law that a driver is responsible for all vehicle occupants wearing a seatbelt or appropriate child restraint.

A seatbelt should be worn with the buckle low on your hip, and lap part across your pelvis and hips. The sash part should run from your shoulder across your chest and above your stomach.


Making Queensland roads safe for all

The mobile phone and seatbelt detection cameras are part of the Camera Detected Offence Program. Money collected from camera fines is used to fund important road safety initiatives and education across Queensland.


The rules

It is illegal to hold your phone in your hand or have it resting on any part of your body, including your lap, while driving. This applies even when you’re stopped in traffic or at traffic lights. The phone doesn’t need to be turned on or in use for it to be an offence. These rules also apply to bicycle riders.

If you have an open or P2 licence you can use a phone hands-free, for example, in a cradle attached to the vehicle. This can include to accept calls, use navigation apps, skip a song, or accept/finish a trip as a rideshare driver. However, the position of the phone must not obscure your view of the road, you must have proper control of your vehicle, and drive with due care and attention at all times.

Open and P2 licence holders can also use a phone hands-free if it’s in a pocket of your clothing or a pouch you’re wearing. However, you must not touch or look at the phone. It can only be operated using your voice.

It is illegal for learner and P1 drivers under 25 years old to use a phone in any way while driving. This includes using maps, Bluetooth and hands-free. If your phone is in apocket of your clothing or a pouch you’re wearing, you must not use it in any way. This includes touching it, looking at it or operating it with your voice. Passengers of these drivers also cannot use phones on loudspeaker.

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 when asked; or
  • get a card or money out of a phone wallet for the above purposes.

You can also use your phone when safely parked. Parked means stopped with the intention of staying at that place.

The penalties

From 1 November 2021, 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. Learner drivers will lose their licence after just one mobile phone offence. P-Platers can also lose their licence after just one mobile phone offence.


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