Lifestyle

Eat and drive, play music too loud, and you'll cop a big fine

Queensland police introduce new "Fatal 5" cars to their highway fleet to highlight inattention as a reason people die on our roads.
Queensland police introduce new "Fatal 5" cars to their highway fleet to highlight inattention as a reason people die on our roads. Rae Wilson

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

Police Minister Jack Dempsey launched the new Fatal Five highway patrol cars on Tuesday with the news that 15 days into the new year, Queensland had recorded 15 road fatalities.

During the same period last year, Queensland had nine.

Mr Dempsey said some of those deaths could have been avoided.

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

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 could fine someone eating behind the wheel, if they thought the action was distracting enough.

Mr Stewart said the food could be anything from a chocolate bar to trying to eat stir-fry.

He said even someone playing distractingly loud music could find themselves fined.

"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," he said. "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.

"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. Inattention is a very dangerous (road accident) contributor," he said.

Mr Dempsey said the campaign cars would travel throughout Queensland to push the message that distraction and inattention caused road deaths.

Topics:  cars news driving police road rules



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