Larger fines preferred for motorists using mobiles

TASMANIA’S Road Safety Advisory Council has quashed calls to slap motorists caught using mobiles phones with double demerit points.

Police have the power to dock drivers caught using hand-held phones three demerit points as well as a $300 fine.

The state’s peak motoring body wants tougher penalties imposed, after a 24-hour police blitz saw 76 Tasmanian motorists fined for the offence and 56 receive cautions.

The RACT said the results were disappointing and urged Tasmanian lawmakers to consider harsher penalties.

But Road Safety Advisory Council chairman Jim Cox said there was no known merit in handing out double demerit points.

“I’ve seen no reasons or evidence to suggest it’s worthwhile,” Mr Cox said.

“I’d much rather see fines increase than doubling demerit points.”

Infrastructure Minister Rene Hidding said the government had no plans to introduce double demerit points despite the disappointing number of mobile phone-related infringements during the blitz.

He said the government remained open to ideas to make the state’s roads safer.

“The government welcomes debate about other measures through the Road Safety Advisory Council,” he said.

Opposition Leader Bryan Green said the council was best placed to evaluate possible penalty systems.

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