Careful, Chermside! Secret Cameras Catching People on Phones Whilst Driving to Stay Permanently

Did you know that Chermside is among Brisbane’s worst crash hotspots, with most accidents caused by people using their mobile phones whilst driving? Queensland drivers need to avoid distracted driving as the state permanently implements camera detection technology to catch errant drivers.

Following the camera’s trial in 2020, Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey announced that this scheme will be rolled out permanently beginning 26 July 2021 across the state.

“Some of the cameras will be mobile, and we won’t be telling people where they are either,” the minister stated. “Drivers should expect to be caught anywhere, anytime, whether they’re driving in the city or on a regional highway.” 

The cameras work to capture high-resolution images of the front driver and passenger seat, which are scanned by AI detection technology. These devices, developed by Alex Jannink of Acusensus, who lost a friend in a road crash due to a distracted driver in the U.S., work day and night in all weather conditions and can spot drivers on their mobile who are trying to evade the cameras.

Photo Credit: Queensland Government

In a statement, Mr Bailey said that drivers will be notified of their driving violations without any fines until 31 October. From 1 November, erring drivers caught by the cameras will have to pay a $1033 fine and lose four demerit points. 

Drivers captured by the camera with a mobile phone in their hand, including when they’re stopped at traffic lights or in a congested area, will also be penalised. Double demerit points will apply for repeat offenders within the year of the offence. 

“Our message has always been direct and very simple: just put your phone away,” Mr Bailey said.

“Using a mobile phone while driving has the same impact as getting behind the wheel with a blood alcohol reading between 0.07 and 0.10.”

Top 10 Crash Hotspots in Brisbane

In a survey of accident insurance claims made between July 2019 to July 2020 from the Australian Associated Motor Insurers (AAMI), Gympie Road in Chermside emerged as the spot with the most accidents among the 350,000 claims filed for that period. The thoroughfare has been “notorious for congestion and collisions,” especially during peak hours. 

Gympie Road on the stretch of Aspley also landed as the sixth-worst crash hotspot in Brisbane. Per the data, nose-to-tail crashes were the most common accidents in this highly congested area, where drivers apparently attempt to multi-task on their phones.

  1. Gympie Road, Chermside
  2. Logan Road, Mount Gravatt
  3. Morayfield Road, Morayfield
  4. Ipswich Road, Annerley
  5. Browns Plains Road, Browns Plains
  6. Gympie Road, Aspley
  7. Sandgate Road, Clayfield
  8. Logan Road, Eight Mile Plains
  9. Waterworks Road, Ashgrove
  10. Bruce Highway, Caboolture

No Seatbelt Fine Increased

The cameras will also catch drivers without their seatbelts on. The penalty for this driving violation is $413, up from $391 in 2019, with three demerit points. 

“One in four people killed on Queensland roads aren’t wearing a seat belt – it’s deadly and the penalties for not belting up reflect that,” Mr Bailey said. 

Photo Credit: Cfansworth/Pixabay

“Whether you’re a driver or a passenger, the risk is the same and so are the penalties. Drivers can also be fined and lose points for every passenger in the vehicle who isn’t buckled up, regardless of their age.”

“So far in 2021, 136 people have died on Queensland roads – 12 more than at the same time last year,” Mr Bailey remarked about distracted driving.  

“The numbers are shocking, particularly when you consider that for every life lost, another 27 people are treated in hospital.

“These deaths and injuries have a shattering impact on communities across the state.”

Queensland/TMR Driving Violations Facts 

  • The cameras will start operating on Queensland roads on Monday 26 July 2021.
  • There will be a three-month period where warning notices will be given to offenders before fines start being issued.
  • Fines will start being issued to anyone caught by the cameras from 1 November 2021.
  • The cameras will be in operation anywhere, anytime.
  • The current penalty for using a mobile phone is $1033 and four demerit points.
  • The current penalty for not wearing a seatbelt is $413 and three demerit points.
  • From July to December 2020, the cameras were trialled in Queensland.
  • During the trial, more than 15,000 people were detected illegally using a mobile phone and more than 2200 not wearing a seat belt.
  • Two-thirds of Queenslanders admit to using their mobile phones illegally while driving.
  • Driver distraction contributes to almost 20 per cent of serious injuries and 12 per cent of all lives lost on Queensland roads.