NEW PENALTIES: Distracted drivers will face a fine of up to $1000 and possibly loss of licence for a second offence.
NEW PENALTIES: Distracted drivers will face a fine of up to $1000 and possibly loss of licence for a second offence. Contributed

Distracted drivers to be hit harder

FOLLOWING a horror run on Queensland roads, the Queensland government is set to introduce a new penalty on drivers who use mobile phone devices behind the wheel.

Over 40 lives have been lost as a result of road crashes in Queensland in the past two months, sparking a fresh look at the current penalties for a range of driving offences.

Transport Minister Mark Bailey is determined to act on the growing menace of driver distraction that will see his proposal of a fine of up to $1000 and possibly loss of licence for a second offence, with research showing distracted driving being as dangerous as drunk driving.

"People are literally killing themselves and killing others because they can't keep their hands off their phone,” Mr Bailey said.

In 2017 alone, 38 people were killed, and 1224 people hospitalised by distracted drivers on Queensland's roads.

"Families and the wider community forever pay the price for that decision to check social media or read a text,” Mr Bailey said.

"It's not worth it and I think our laws need to more clearly send that message.

"We've seen a major cultural shift in our attitude to drunk driving and we need to have that conversation now about our obsession with screen time while driving.”

His get-tough approach is firmly backed by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

"Fatal crashes from mobile phone use just horrify me,” she said.

"The dreadful consequences of these needless tragedies impact everyone. Not only the victims but their families and friends are left devastated too.”

"Time is overdue for us to get this right. All our lives depend on it,” Mr Bailey said.


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