Phone fine blitz helps raise $600m
COVERT cameras nabbing dangerous Queensland motorists using their mobile phones will help reap the State Government a bumper fine haul that is equivalent to about four months of land tax revenue.
Treasury coffers are set to rake in a massive $597 million next financial year from all fines and forfeitures, such as from speeding offences or running red lights.
The figure is $140 million more than the $457 million that is expected to be collected this financial year - an increase of about 30 per cent - that coincides with the introduction of cameras to start busting motorists using their mobile phones or not wearing seatbelts.
It is then projected to climb even further to $641 million in 2022-23 - equating to about $1.75 million every single day or $73,000 an hour.
The total fine and forfeiture revenue next financial year is roughly equivalent to four months of the state's expected $1.6 billion land tax haul.
Budget papers have revealed new cameras that catch out motorists using their mobile phones or not wearing a seatbelt are "partly" behind the spike next financial year - when the cameras will start dishing out fines.
The Courier-Mail can reveal that since the trial of the cameras began in July, about 14,000 possible mobile phone offences have been detected as well as 2,179 possible seatbelt offences.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said their intention has always been for the cameras to begin issuing fines from next year and that he would not apologise for putting road safety first.
"If you don't want to be fined, don't speed, don't use your phone while driving and buckle up," he said.
"We're seeing too many people using their phone while driving and I've read too many crash reports where people have died because they weren't using a seatbelt.
"By law, every dollar collected from speed cameras is invested back into road safety."
RACQ spokesman Paul Turner said it was legislated that any fine revenue went to road safety programs.
"It's been referred to as a voluntary tax - if you don't want to pay it then don't speed, run red lights or use your handheld mobile phone behind the wheel," he said.
"Mobile phone detection cameras give police greater ability to catch those doing the wrong thing, risking their lives and everyone else on the road and until now it's been a difficult rule to enforce."
The LNP's transport spokesman Steve Minnikin said the LNP supported any "sensible measure" to improve road safety.
"There was always going to be an increase in revenue, as a result of improved technology catching drivers on their mobile phones," he said.
"The LNP wants this revenue to go back into road safety."
BY THE NUMBERS:
● DRIVERS CAUGHT USING THEIR MOBILE PHONE BEHIND THE WHEEL CAN BE FINED $1000 AND LOSE FOUR DEMERIT POINTS.
● THE FINE APPLIES TO ANYONE WHO IS BUSTED WITH A MOBILE PHONE
IN THEIR HAND AND USES
IT FOR ANY REASON
● IF SOMEONE IS CAUGHT A SECOND TIME IN A YEAR, DOUBLE DEMERIT POINTS APPLY.
● A DRIVER CANNOT USE THEIR PHONE WHILE STOPPED AT TRAFFIC LIGHTS OR WHILE IN CONGESTION.
SOURCE: TRANSPORT AND MAIN ROADS WEBSITE.
Originally published as Phone fine blitz helps raise $600m