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Eating makes a meal of safety on roads with fines expected

Monte Van Geest
Monte Van Geest Christine Mckee

DRIVERS eating or playing loud music could be fined $330 for inattention under Queensland's Fatal Five police campaign to cut the state's rising road toll.

Not everyone agrees with the government's logic.

Yeppoon P-plater Monte Van Geest said the new laws were a case of over-regulation.

"Will they take radios out of cars too ... ? Where does it end?," he said.

"I think this is about money."

Police Minister Jack Dempsey launched the new Fatal Five highway patrol cars yesterday with the news that 15 days into the new year and Queensland had recorded the same number of road fatalities as this time last year.

And some of those deaths could have been avoided, he said.

"That's why we've added distraction as one of the fatal five."

Speeding, drink-driving, not wearing a seatbelt and driving while fatigued make up the rest of the Fatal Five.

Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said officers did have discretion between fining someone eating a chocolate bar and someone trying to eat a stir-fry behind the wheel, but even loud music could be distracting enough to result in a fine.

Police Commissioner Ian Stewart
Police Commissioner Ian Stewart

"We've all seen it in our own lives, people reading something, looking away, picking something up off the passenger seat when they should be watching the road as the vehicle is moving forward.

 

"It will depend on the circumstances, but anything that causes inattention while that driver is in control of the vehicle can be considered by police officers."

"Every one of those (crashes) can be avoided by people being smarter - not texting on their phone, not eating that pie, not trying to put their make-up on or trying to do their hair as they drive into work."

Mr Stewart said officers had handed out almost 600 tickets - worth a $330 fine and three demerit points - for inattention over the Christmas period.

He said statistics showed about 1200 of the state's injury crashes in the past 12 months had been attributed to inattention.

"It's a shame the public don't seem to be getting this."

Topics:  driving, eating, fatal five, fines, music, police, queensland


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