Using a mobile phone while driving will result in increased fines for Tasmanian motorists starting February 1, 2010.
In a statement, the state's Minister for Infrastructure, Graeme Sturges, said that the increased monetary penalty, from $110 to $300, would be in addition to an increased penalty of 2 to 3 demerit points.
“It is an inescapable fact that people illegally using mobile phones while driving are not paying full attention to the crucial task of driving safely, and therefore are at much more risk of putting their own safety, and that of every other road user on the line,” Sturges said.
“Almost tripling the fine is intended to send a strong message to the community about the hazards of using a mobile phone while driving, especially given that inattention is a major contributory factor in road crashes.
“A recent study by the Royal Melbourne Hospital found that motorists who used hand-held mobile phones increased their risk of a collision four-fold.”
This decision by the Tasmanian Government comes as the latest in efforts to reduce roadside fatalities. Just four months ago the state also banned the use of mobile phones as GPS devices, deeming them too distracting for drivers.
“A driver is not permitted to use a mobile phone held in any way by the driver, but is only allowed to use a phone in a fixed cradle or by remote means such as via bluetooth technology,” Struges said.