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47,000 Aussies caught in $40 million fine blitz

Fines: An image of a person not wearing a seatbelt as seen by new high-tech artificial intelligence cameras in Queensland.
Queenslanders have been hit with massive fines for not wearing a seatbelt or using their phone while driving. (Source: Queensland Government)

Since November last year, 47,668 fines were issued across Queensland due to artificial intelligence cameras.

More than 33,800 of those fines were issued for drivers using their phone and a further 13,800 for a driver or front-seat passenger not wearing a seatbelt.

About $40.6 million in revenue was generated from the fines in the first four months of the cameras being in use permanently.

About $34.9 million came from the mobile phone fines while $5.7 million were from seatbelt offences.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said he was shocked to see the latest round of figures.

“It’s absolutely unacceptable that we’ve seen 6,288 people caught red-handed by new mobile phone and seatbelt cameras between January 25 and February 7 – nearly 500 per day,” Bailey said.

“Since November 1 [2021], the cameras have caught a total of 37,594 people who are flouting the road rules.

“These people have a clear lack of regard for themselves and those around them.

Bailey said Queenslanders were aware the cameras were being introduced and that he was disappointed to see so many drivers still flouting the rules.

“What’s even more concerning is that over 11,000 people aren’t wearing a seatbelt, or are wearing one incorrectly.”

Bailey reiterated that these cameras can be anywhere, anytime, across the whole state.

“It’s time unsafe drivers in Queensland realise it is only a matter of time until they’re caught and fined heavily for driving distracted or not wearing a seat belt,” he said.

“We’re cracking down on phone fiends and those not wearing seatbelts – with new, anywhere, anytime, high-tech cameras and heavy fines.”

Bailey reiterated the dangers of driving distracted and reminded the community that the rules were in place to help save lives.

“We know using a phone while driving is the equivalent of getting behind the wheel with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.07-0.10 - it’s just not on,” he said.

“On average, 29 people are killed and 1,284 seriously injured each year on Queensland roads as a result of crashes where driver distraction played a part.”

Bailey made no apologies for hitting drivers with a $1,033 fine if they were caught on the phone behind the wheel.

“These tough penalties hit offenders where it hurts – their wallet,” he said.

“It’s simple. If you don’t want a fine, don’t break the rules.”

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