By Deanne Jeffers
DESPITE the dangers of distracted driving being well known, too many drivers are still using devices behind the wheel.
New rules commenced in March 2023 regulating the use of a range of portable, mountable, wearable and inbuilt devices while driving a vehicle or riding a motorbike.
Using a phone or other device, like a Smartwatch, while driving or riding can be distracting, increasing the chance of being involved in a crash or near crash. Looking at or touching a device at the same time as being in control of a vehicle is particularly dangerous.
Mobile and seat belt cameras are being rolled out in Victoria. These cameras have the capability to capture drivers who are holding mobile phones or other devices while driving, as well as drivers and passengers who are not wearing seatbelts, or not wearing them properly. In 2022, 21 vehicle occupants were found not wearing a seatbelt. This represented 17 per cent of all vehicle occupants who died in 2022.
Where the cameras detect a passenger not wearing a seatbelt, only the driver will be issued with an infringement notice for failing to ensure the passenger is wearing a seatbelt.
During February, four of these cameras will be stationed in the region, operating in areas in Bunbartha, Kialla, Kialla West and Mooroopna. Drivers caught by these cameras incur the following penalties:
– $577 fine if caught using a portable device like a mobile phone while driving, and 4 demerit points
– $385 fine for not wearing a seatbelt correctly, and 3 demerit points.
For more information, visit www.vic.gov.au/mobile-phone-and-seatbelt-detection-cameras