Drivers have been caught using their phones while driving – and they’ve faced $1000 fines.
Drivers have been caught using their phones while driving – and they’ve faced $1000 fines.

How threat of huge fine has impacted dodgy drivers

FEWER drivers have been caught using their mobile phones across the Lockyer Valley and Somerset regions, a drop which police say is likely linked to a ramped up deterrent.

It has been nearly five months since the fine for using a mobile device was increased from $400 to $1000.

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Toogoolawah Police's Senior Constable Claire Heptinstall said the fine, which more than doubled on February 1, had reduced the number of drivers in Toogoolawah making the mistake of using their phone.

"In the division, we've issued a few fines but we have definitely noticed a decline in people using them," Sen-Con Heptinstall said.

"I think the threat of being fined $1000 is definitely making a difference."

While the number of offenders is shrinking - or at least those who offend are hiding it better - the station dealt with a driver disregarding the rule on Wednesday.

"One fine was issued today," Sen-Const Heptinstall said.

"(The male driver) was on a call."

Across Gatton and Laidley, the situation was similar.

Laidley Police Acting OIC Sergeant Tony Harm said there appeared to be a decrease in the area since the fine increased.

"Overall, it does seem to be having a deterrent effect," Sgt Harm said.

Gatton Police Officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Rowland Browne said officers from his station had fined two drivers detected breaking the law in the past two weeks.

'It certainly wouldn't be more (than usual) - it is low," Snr Sgt Browne said.

But he and Lowood OIC Senior Sergeant Bruce Peel both agreed it was a difficult crime to detect, making it tricky to track the number of cases.

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"It is a pretty hard thing to detect - people might have them in their lap, on their seat or hidden below a dashboard," Snr Sgt Peel said.

In the past two weeks, officers at the station have issued two fines for drivers caught using their mobiles.

"You would think the fine would be a pretty significant deterrent, wouldn't you?" he said.

"And it's had a pretty huge contribution to some of our crashes."

Read more stories by Ebony Graveur.



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