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News and media frequently asked questions

This page contains information on our most commonly asked media questions. The responses can be used in all media and attributed to a Department of Transport and Main Roads spokesperson.

If you have any other questions, please email media@tmr.qld.gov.au.

Read the frequently asked questions about:

Drivers and driving

New mobile phone laws

What are the current rules for using a mobile phone while driving?

It is currently illegal for a driver to hold a mobile phone in their hand and operate any function on the phone, including when stopped in traffic and at traffic lights.

Learner and P1 licence holders under the age of 25 can't use any function on a mobile phone while driving. This includes hands-free, wireless headsets, Bluetooth, or the phone’s loudspeaker function. Their passengers also can't use a mobile phone’s loudspeaker function.

Open and P2 licence holders are permitted to use a phone hands-free, for instance in a cradle attached to the vehicle. This can include to accept calls, use navigation apps etc.

What are the proposed changes to the rules?

From 26 July 2021, the rules were changed to make it illegal for a driver to hold a mobile phone in their hand or have it resting on any part of their body, including their lap. The phone doesn’t need to be turned on or in use.

The other restrictions for learners and P1 licence holders under the age of 25 remain.

In recognition of the role mobile phones play in our lives, the rules will make it clear that a driver can hold their phone when the vehicle is stationary to pay for goods and services, enter an area like a car park, or present a digital driver licence to police.

Open and P2 licence holders can continue to use a phone hands-free, for instance in a cradle attached to the vehicle. This can include to accept calls, use navigation apps etc.

What is the key difference in the new rules?

The new rules make it very clear that a driver should not be holding their phone or have it resting on any part of their body, regardless of if it is in use.

What are the mobile phone penalties for drivers?

A driver detected using their mobile phone illegally can receive a $1033 fine and four demerit points. Double demerit points and a further $1033 fine will apply for a repeat mobile phone offence within a 12-month period.

Learner drivers can lose their licence from one mobile phone offence. P-Platers can also lose their licence from one offence or be subject to a one-year good driver behaviour period.

For open licence holders, two offences in a 12-month period could mean losing their licence or choosing a one-year good driving behaviour period.

Why will it be against the law to hold the phone or rest it on the driver's lap?

If the phone is in a driver’s hand or in their lap then they are either using it or intending to use it.

Keeping a phone on your lap represents additional safety risks, even if it is turned off. An unsecured phone may fall from your lap and become a distraction while driving. There is also the risk of it becoming lodged behind one of the pedals and preventing your ability to safely control the vehicle.

Can a driver hand their phone to a passenger while driving?

From 26 July 2021, drivers are not allowed to hold their phone in their hand while driving, regardless of whether it's on or in use. This means passing it to a passenger is not allowed.

Are taxi, ride-share, and bus drivers subject to the mobile phone rules?

Taxi, ride-share, and bus drivers are subject to the same mobile phone rules as other drivers.

They can use their phone if it is in a cradle attached to the vehicle. This can include to accept calls as well as accepting or finishing a trip as a taxi or ride-share driver.

They must always maintain due care and attention.

Camera Detected Offence Program

Fixed and portable cameras to detect illegal mobile phone use while driving and front-seat occupants not wearing a seatbelt (including wearing it incorrectly) are being deployed across all of Queensland in urban and regional areas. 

These cameras operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Drivers and passengers committing the illegal behaviours should assume they can be caught anywhere, anytime.

Camera locations are selected following a risk-based data analysis of crashes where injuries or fatalities have occurred and where using a mobile phone illegally or failure to wear a seatbelt was a contributing factor to the crash.

These crashes occur everywhere in the state, so you can expect to have the cameras placed on roads across South East Queensland, up to the Far North and out towards the west and central regions.

Drivers caught on camera receive a $1033 fine and four demerit points for mobile phone offences and a $413 fine and three demerit points for each vehicle occupant detected not wearing a seatbelt.

1 July vehicle registration and licence fee increases

In Queensland, vehicle registration and driver licensing fees are adjusted annually in accordance with applicable government policy.

This approach to indexation ensures that the rate applied reflects current economic circumstances.

Revenue from registration fees is used for construction and maintenance of the state-controlled road network.

This includes activities from the securing of future road corridors through to maintenance and rehabilitation of roads.

To ease the cost of vehicle registration payments, customers can choose to pay six-monthly, quarterly or monthly, in addition to the standard 12-month payment term.

We also offer a direct debit service, which allows eligible customers to set automatic registration payments from their bank account or credit card.

Customers can visit our website for a free quote on the cost of registration for their motor vehicles, trailers and vessels.

Senior drivers

We are committed to improving road safety.

Age is not a barrier to driving and we support older drivers continuing to drive on Queensland's road for as long as they can do so safely.

The fact a driver is an older person does not necessarily make them a danger on the road.

Many older drivers have decades of driving experience and are as safe as any other motorist.

It is a person's ability to drive safely that will determine whether they can hold a licence.

All drivers, regardless of age, must meet nationally agreed standards to ensure their health or any physical disability does not increase the risk of a crash.

As there are several conditions that can become more prevalent with age, all drivers 75 or older must hold and drive in accordance with a current medical certificate.

They must always carry their medical certificate with them while driving and drive in accordance with any conditions or restrictions on the certificate. The certificate is valid for a maximum of 13 months, which ensures regular check-ups and the early detection and management of any health problems.

A person's general practitioner is best placed to assess their medical fitness to drive.

This is done using national standards set out in the Assessing Fitness to Drive for commercial and private vehicle drivers publication.

The general practitioner may require the person to undertake more frequent reviews or seek advice from a specialist, such as an occupational therapist.

A recommendation of medical fitness to drive to is then provided to TMR.

Anyone, including Queensland Police, can report a driver who they believe has a medical condition that is likely to adversely affect their ability to drive. Sufficient evidence needs to be provided to TMR.

If TMR determines a person has a medical condition that is likely to adversely affect their ability to drive, we can suspend, cancel or amend their licence.

Failing to notify TMR of a medical condition is an offence, which carries a maximum penalty of more than $8,200 and cancellation of their driver licence.

Learner driver education

Drivers under 24 years of age continue to be over-represented in crash statistics and we regularly review research around licensing requirements.

In 2018, we launched PrepL, an interactive online learning and assessment program designed to give new drivers a safer start to their time on the road.

PrepL is an alternative to the road rules test and is designed to improve learner driver education by focusing on developing safe behaviours and attitudes.

It ensures new drivers know the road rules and understand the impact of the fatal five road behaviours: speeding, seatbelt use, fatigue, distraction, and drink and drug driving.

PrepL is better suited to a wider variety of learning styles due to its interactive and flexible nature.

PrepL users can access the program at any time, on a compatible smartphone, tablet or computer.

They can complete the program at their own pace, at a location that suits them.

More information is available on the Queensland Government website.

Defensive driving

Queensland's graduated licensing scheme (GLS) incorporates mandatory supervised driving experience and incentives for novice drivers to undertake driving lessons with accredited driver trainers, to ensure new drivers are getting the best start to their driving journey.

The use of mandatory hours of practice for novice drivers, professional on-road driving instruction by accredited driver trainers, and supervised driving practice in a wide variety of on-road situations, are generally more beneficial to novice drivers than undertaking defensive driving courses focussed only on driving skills and conducted in limited road environments.

Drivers require additional skills which are important for day-to-day driving, such as hazard perception and the ability to manage distractions. These skills are developed through experience and practice.

We are not currently considering introducing defensive driver training as a compulsory requirement to obtain a licence. There is however ongoing community and industry interest in controlled environment driver education and training and potential for initiatives that supplement existing countermeasures under the GLS.

We have developed evidence-based Guidelines for Controlled Environment Driver Training targeted at young drivers. To inform the development of these guidelines we worked with Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) and the driver training industry. The guidelines were developed from published research evidence and extensive stakeholder consultation.

Based on adult learning principles, the guidelines include fundamental driving and road rules training, as well as cognitive skills training such as hazard perception, and the ability to manage other known risk factors (such as fatigue and distractions) while minimising the risk of over-confidence, through resilience and insight training. Read more about professional driver trainers.

Further, to improve safety for young drivers, we have developed PrepL an online learning and assessment program to give new drivers a safer start. PrepL, represents a significant shift in the way we approach new driver education. Participants don't just learn the rules. They will learn why the rules exist and experience the consequences of poor driving behaviour in a virtual environment.

PrepL was launched as an alternative option to the written road rules test in November 2018. However, it is intended that PrepL will eventually become mandatory, due to the expected road safety benefits.

We have also developed a course for learner driver supervisors, the PrepL Supervisor Course. This course gives supervisors access to PrepL content and additional guidance materials.

In regard to the effectiveness of the GLS, we commissioned a preliminary evaluation of the 2007 changes. The evaluation found that the 2007 changes were associated with a 31 per cent reduction in fatal crashes involving young novice drivers.

In 2016, a further evaluation of the GLS reforms was conducted and found some crash and casualty reductions for novice drivers over time.

A full evaluation of the PrepL program will be undertaken in the coming years as more Queensland novice drivers complete it.

Permits

Disability parking permits

Parking in a disability parking space is an offence.

It unfairly inconveniences those who require easier access to a location due to their disability.

The penalty for parking in a disability parking spot, without a permit, under the Queensland Road Rules is an on the-spot fine of $551 and a maximum penalty of more than $2,700 if the matter is dealt with in court.

This penalty is enforced by the Queensland Police Service.

Local councils can also set and enforce their own penalty for this offence and the fine amount can vary depending on the local council area.

From 31 August 2020, people diagnosed as legally blind as well as those with an impairment to their functional ability to walk are eligible to apply for a disability parking permit.

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Vehicles

Motorised mobility scooters

Mobility devices, including mobility scooters and motorised wheelchairs, are an essential part of life for people with a mobility impairment.

They improve access to services and greatly enhance an individual's quality of life.

The user of a motorised mobility scooter or wheelchair is not required to hold a medical certificate or a Queensland driver licence.

Device users are considered pedestrians and must comply with the road rules applicable to pedestrians.

A motorised wheelchair must be registered if it is used in public areas, such as on a footpath.

A motorised scooter may only be registered if it meets the definition of a motorised wheelchair.

Under Queensland transport legislation, a motorised scooter or wheelchair used in public areas must not be capable of going faster than 10km/h.

The user must always be able to operate the device safely.

They must also exercise due care and attention for the safety of others.

More information is available on the Queensland Government website.

Speed limits

School zones

The safety of school children is important. The reduction of vehicle speeds on roads near schools at times when school children are present reduces the likelihood and severity of a crash.

When deciding to install a school zone, it is essential to ensure the school zone is consistent with the requirements within our Traffic and Road Use Management manual.

This is to ensure that school zones are implemented consistently across the state.

School zones are intended to promote the safety of children walking, cycling, accessing schools and getting on and off public transport, on the roads closest to the schools.

School zones are determined by road authorities, through considered application of the school zone guidelines. To maintain the integrity of all school zones they must only be used on roads where the school has a property frontage to the road.

Flashing school zone signs

Flashing school zones signs can enhance the impact of the school zone signage, particularly in more complex road environments where a standard sign might not be noticed. A detailed risk analysis is undertaken to determine the priority of school zones that will receive flashing school zone signs.

This process includes consideration of local issues and problem areas raised by schools and communities through their Members of Parliament.

Priority is given to school zones with a high level of vehicle and pedestrian traffic, higher speed limits or visibility problems.

Speed cameras in road and street signs

Speeding is one of the major causes of fatalities on Queensland roads and we make no apology for protecting vulnerable school children and roadworkers.

We are in the process of procuring 10 camera signs as part of a two-year pilot program to install speed cameras in road and street signs at school zones and roadworks sites.

The program is due to begin later this year (2021). Cameras will be installed in six flashing school zone signs and four flashing roadworks signs on a rotational basis.

The cameras will operate in the same way as existing speed cameras. The key innovation for these cameras is they are lightweight, allowing them to be mounted in the signs.

The type of camera being used is an approved photographic detection device under Queensland's Traffic Regulation 1962.

Once the cameras are in operation, fines will apply for speeding offences detected. There are no plans to issue warning notices.

School zones for the pilot have been identified following a comprehensive risk assessment.  Roadwork sites will be identified through a review of speed-related crash data, previous speed survey findings, near miss incidents with roadworkers and  associated risk assessments. 

School zones and roadworks sites have been recognised as presenting challenges for traditional methods of speed enforcement due to high levels of vulnerable road users in the area, as well as limited space/access for traditional enforcement, such as mobile speed camera vehicles. 

Where traditional enforcement has been possible, there has been an unacceptable number of people exceeding the speed limit at speeds of more than 13 km/h and 20 km/h.

These cameras are capable of being used in areas which would otherwise be difficult to enforce. Instead of a mobile speed camera occupying a parking space in a busy school zone, these cameras have the same footprint as existing Flashing School Zone Signs.

It is important to remember every fine is issued to someone who is doing the wrong thing. 

Ideally no revenue would be collected from the Camera Detected Offence Program (CDOP), however any money collected, in excess of running the program, is reinvested into road safety programs such as Safer Roads Sooner, community road safety grants and flashing school zone signs.

The easiest way to avoid being fined is to obey the law.

We all have a role to play in road safety and motorists are reminded to stick to the speed limits, abide by the road rules and drive to the conditions.

The fatal five continue to be the leading cause of deaths on our roads. All motorists need to be aware of the fatal five and take them seriously: drink driving, fatigue, inattention, not using a seat belt and speeding.

We urge all motorists to slow down and obey the signed, speed limits in both school zones and at roadworks sites and remain alert at all times. 

Speed limit reviews

Involvement of speed-related factors in serious road crashes is well established, so speed limits play an important role in managing road safety. Speed limits on Queensland roads are determined in accordance with our Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices to ensure consistency across the state.

We frequently undertake speed limit reviews on the state-controlled road network as changes in the road environment or transport activity are identified.

As a professional engineering service, speed limit reviews are required by law to be undertaken by suitably qualified and competent professional engineers (Registered Professional Engineer Queensland, RPEQ). In conducting reviews they take several important factors into account, including the function of the road, road crash history, land use adjacent to the road, and risks to all road users. An important first step in conducting a review is for the engineer to assemble all the relevant information and data relevant to the assessment process including investigation of issues and concerns raised by the community.

The RPEQ's recommendations are presented to the local speed management committee (SMC), which consists of representatives from TMR, Queensland Police Service and local council. The role of the SMC is to advise the engineer of any facts relevant to the assessment and to endorse that all such factors have been considered in the assessment. It is not the role of the SMC to approve the outcomes of the assessment.

The RPEQ's recommendation to change a speed limits is subject to approval by the legislative delegate which is the Chief Executive Officers of local governments, and our District Directors or Regional Directors, respectively for local- and state-controlled roads.

If the legislative delegate does not accept the recommendation of the RPEQ they can refer the recommendation to the State Speed Limit Review Panel for an independent review by a panel of experts as appointed by the Chief Engineer of Transport and Main Roads.

Road corridors

Roadside memorials

Roadside memorials have been appearing on Queensland roads for many years.

We are accepting of roadside memorials, provided the memorial does not distract or pose a safety hazard to road users.

Read more about roadside memorials.

Wildlife Protection measures and tree clearing

The conservation and protection of native fauna and flora, including threatened and endangered species, is important to the department.

The state-controlled road reserve may form part of important landscape corridors for fauna movement or contain important habitat for conservation of significant fauna. During the planning phase of a project, we complete an environmental assessment to understand the potential impacts on the natural environment, including fauna, to inform the project design where possible and develop recommendations for management of fauna during the construction phase. Our Fauna Sensitive Road Design Manual guides design, construction and maintenance of roads that better accommodate the needs of fauna, by reducing habitat or population fragmentation and the impact of road traffic.

When considering the suitability of fauna friendly infrastructure as a possible mitigation measure to reduce potential impacts to fauna, we consider several issues, including:

  • the design needs of the target species
  • existing landscape connectivity
  • current and future land uses adjacent to the project
  • physical design constraints such as topography, geometry, accessibility and drainage
  • road safety and funding availability for both construction and ongoing maintenance commitments
  • the suitability of alternative mitigation measures such as signage, habitat restoration and reduced speed limits.

We are committed to managing our road network in a manner that promotes best environmental outcomes, with tree clearing for any transport infrastructure projects kept to a minimum and only carried out where necessary.

We pay Commonwealth and State environmental offsets in accordance with regulatory frameworks where habitat destruction is unavoidable. We also manage several significant environmental areas within the state-controlled road reserve. These areas protect species and ecological communities that are at highest risk of extinction from uncontrolled clearing or disturbance.

Roadkill

We share community concerns about the impact of vehicles on our native fauna.

We engage with key stakeholders, including community groups and other agencies, to understand where there are particularly high-risk locations for animal-vehicle collisions along the existing road network that need to be managed. We consider possible mitigation measures based on site specific details and latest research.

Installation of signs and reduction of speed limits is guided by technical documents including the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

We also use technology to help reduce animal-vehicle collisions by providing warnings through the QLDTraffic app when large animals are reported on or near state-controlled roads.

Maritime safety

Maritime Safety Queensland's (MSQ) role is to protect Queensland's waterways and the people who use them—providing safer, cleaner seas.

MSQ is responsible for:

  • improving maritime safety for shipping and recreational craft through regulation and education
  • minimising vessel-sourced waste and responding to marine pollution
  • providing essential maritime services such as aids to navigation and vessel traffic services
  • providing recreational boating facilities around the state
  • encouraging and supporting innovation in the maritime industry.

MSQ also runs the War on Wrecks program. While it is always the owner's responsibility to salvage their vessels when they become an environmental or navigational risk, MSQ will step in, when required, to remove rotting, unseaworthy and derelict vessels.

Since the War on Wrecks program began in 2018, there are now 851 fewer derelict vessels across the state.

Statistics

Road safety statistics are available on our website.

Last updated
03 November 2021