Enforcement

Speed cameras

Fixed speed cameras are installed in locations with a history of crashes, that are difficult to monitor by other methods, and where there is crash potential.

A point-to-point (or average) speed camera uses the time it takes to travel between the two points to calculate the average speed and establish if an offence has occurred.

Mobile speed cameras operate at approved sites chosen using a strict selection procedure, which considers:

  • the site’s history of crashes
  • validated complaints about high-risk speeding behaviour
  • workplace health and safety issues for those operating speed cameras
  • if the existing speed limit was set in compliance with speed control guidelines

Red light cameras

Red light cameras are installed where there is a history of crashes caused by running red lights. They operate 24/7. The camera is activated when the traffic light turns red. Any vehicle that crosses the STOP line after this will be photographed. A second photograph is taken 1 second later to check the vehicle continued through the intersection (rather than stopping just past the STOP line).

Red light cameras can be combined with speed cameras and placed at signalised intersections to detect both red light running and speeding (can detect simultaneously). Speed is checked on the red, amber and green signal.

Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR)

ANPR can instantly verify the registration of vehicles on the road and parked on the roadside. ANPR assists in identifying unregistered vehicles, and ensuring vehicles are compliant with other vehicle and transport laws. ANPR allows police to intercept vehicles of interest (stolen or false plates), as information is checked against the Department of Transport and Main Roads registration information and records held by the Queensland Police Service. ANPR enhances current road safety functions such as roadside interceptions and random vehicle inspections.

Random breath testing (RBT)

Regular RBTs detect drink drivers and reduce drink driving crashes through deterrence as drivers can be intercepted at any time. During a test police will ask you to blow into a roadside breath testing device. If you are over the limit for the type of licence you hold, the conditions of your licence or the type of vehicle you are driving, you will be taken for further breath or blood testing at the officer’s discretion.

If further testing confirms you are over the limit, you will be charged with drink driving. Depending on your BAC, your licence may be suspended for 24 hours or until the charge is dealt with by a court. Refusing to take the roadside test is an offence, and you will be taken for a further breath or blood test. If you refuse further tests, you will be charged with a second offence.

Random roadside drug testing

Roadside drug testing (which can be conducted in conjunction with RBTs) allows police to conduct saliva tests that are able to detect the active ingredients in cannabis (THC), speed and ice (methylamphetamine) and ecstasy (MDMA). There is no legal limit – do not have these drugs in your system when driving.

The preliminary saliva test takes 3-5 minutes. If negative, you are free to go. If positive, you will be taken for a second test. If the second test is positive, your driver licence will be suspended for 24 hours and the saliva sample will be sent for laboratory analysis. If this comes back positive, you will be charged and required to appear in court.

Vehicle impoundment

Police have the power to impound vehicles if you commit any of the following offences:

  • dangerous/careless driving involving a speed trial, race or burn out
  • making unnecessary noise or smoke starting or driving a vehicle, involving a speed trial, race or burn out
  • organising or promoting a speed trial, race, or attempt to break a speed record

Your vehicle can be impounded if you are caught more than once for:

  • driving a vehicle that is both unregistered and uninsured
  • driving while unlicensed or disqualified
  • driving with a BAC of 0.15 or higher
  • failing to supply a specimen of breath, saliva or blood
  • driving while under a 24 hour suspension
  • driving an illegally modified or non-compliant vehicle

Vehicle impoundment applies to the driver and the vehicle used during the offence. Even if you don’t own the car, it will be impounded and you will be responsible for the cost. Owners must ensure their vehicle is roadworthy and drivers are licensed and drive safely. If you don’t commit the offence, your vehicle can be impounded unless it was stolen (it will be returned as soon as possible).

Transport inspectors

Transport inspectors have broad powers to intercept and examine vehicles to ensure the safety of drivers and protect road infrastructure - you must assist them.

Pull over when a transport inspector indicates for you to stop by activating the patrol vehicle’s magenta lights or electronic horn. Transport inspectors will identify themselves and tell you why you’ve been stopped. They may ask for any documents that assist them. You must allow them to examine your vehicle. Transport inspectors can issue substantial on-the-spot fines and report other matters for court action.

Licence sanctions

Immediate suspension

Your licence will be immediately suspended if you are charged with:

  • driving with a BAC of 0.10 or higher
  • driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • failing to provide a specimen of breath, saliva or blood
  • drink or drug driving when an earlier, similar charge has not been dealt with
  • drink or drug driving when you are subject to a section 79E order
  • dangerous driving while affected by an intoxicating substance.

Your licence will remain suspended until the charge is dealt with by a court, or withdrawn or otherwise discontinued.

Section 79E order

You may be eligible (there are some restrictions) to apply for a court order allowing you to drive until the charge causing suspension is dealt with by a court, or withdrawn or otherwise discontinued. You must complete a Section 79E Order Application (form F4395) and lodge it with the Magistrates Court within 21 days of the suspension.

24 hour suspension

Your licence may be suspended for 24 hours if you are charged with:

  • drink driving over the limit but under 0.10 BAC
  • drug driving
  • failing to provide a specimen of breath, saliva or blood

When this suspension period has ended, you may resume driving until a court decides your case. If convicted of any of the above you will be fined and disqualified from holding or obtaining a licence for a stated period.

High speed suspension

If you are caught speeding more than 40km/h over the limit, you will be given an infringement notice. After you pay the fine or deal with the court, you will receive a Notice of Driver Licence Suspension for Speeding Offence, suspending your licence for 6 months. In addition, 8 demerit points will be recorded. If these cause you to accumulate too many, you will also be dealt with under the demerit points scheme.

Accumulation of demerit points – Queensland licence holders

You will be given an infringement notice for committing a demerit point offence (number of points varies according to the offence). The demerit points are recorded against your traffic history when you pay the fine or are dealt with by a court. The points are allocated from the day the offence was committed. Demerit point offences committed anywhere in Australia apply to your traffic history.

Learner licences

4 or more demerit points accumulated in a continuous 1-year period while on your learner licence will result in a mandatory 3-month suspension. This time will not contribute to the minimum period you must hold your learner licence.

Provisional licences

4 or more demerit points accumulated in a continuous 1-year period while on your provisional licence will result in a choice between:

  • a 3-month suspension (will not contribute to the minimum holding period)
  • a good driving behaviour period for 1 year

You may also have a 1-year late night driving restriction imposed.

Open licence

12 or more demerit points accumulated in a continuous 3-year period while on your open licence will result in a choice between having your licence suspended for a specific period or agreeing to continue driving on a good driving behaviour period for 1 year. You may receive a warning when you accumulate 7 demerit points in 3 years.

Open licence suspension periods

Demerit points 12 to 15 16 to 19 20 or more
Suspension periods 3 months 4 months 5 months

Driving on a good driving behaviour period for 1 year

On the good driving behaviour period you keep your current licence provided that you do not accumulate more than 1 demerit point during the 1-year period. If you accumulate 2 or more demerit points, your licence will be suspended for double the period that would have applied had you originally chosen the suspension.

Accumulation of demerit points – interstate and foreign licence holders

You will be given an infringement notice for committing a demerit point offence. The demerit points are recorded against your traffic history when you pay the fine or are dealt with by a court. The points are allocated from the day the offence was committed.

If you accumulate too many demerit points your authority to drive in Queensland on your interstate or foreign licence will be withdrawn for a stated period. The length of the suspension period will depend on the type of licence held and the number of demerit points accumulated. You cannot appeal against the withdrawal of your authority to drive in Queensland.

Double demerit points

Mobile phones

Double demerit points apply for subsequent mobile phone offences within 1 year of a previous mobile phone offence. Double points apply to:

  • a driver using a hand-held mobile phone while driving
  • mobile phone use by a learner or P1 licence holder under 25
  • mobile phone use by a P1 probationary or P1 restricted licence holder

The 1-year period starts from the first subsequent offence and ends when 1 year has passed from the last mobile phone offence.

Speeding

If caught speeding more than 20km/h over the limit more than once within a 1-year period, you will accumulate double demerit points (based on the second offence):

  • 21–30km/h over the limit = 4 demerit points are doubled to 8
  • 31–40km/h over the limit = 6 demerit points are doubled to 12
  • 41km/h or more over the limit = 8 demerit points are doubled to 16

The 1-year period starts from the first subsequent offence and ends when 1 year has passed from the last speeding offence.

Seatbelts, child restraints and helmets

Double demerit points are recorded for additional driver-related seatbelt, child restraint or motorcycle helmet offences committed within 1 year of a previous offence:

  • driver fails to wear a seatbelt (when fitted) – 3 demerit points are doubled to 6
  • driver fails to ensure a passenger under 16 wears a seatbelt or child restraint – 3 demerit points are doubled to 6
  • motorcycle rider fails to wear a helmet – 3 demerit points are doubled to 6
  • motorcycle rider fails to ensure a passenger wears a helmet – 3 demerit points are doubled to 6

The 1-year period starts from the first subsequent offence and ends when 1 year has passed from the last offence.

Special hardship orders

If your licence suspension will cause extreme hardship (e.g. you cannot earn a living) you may apply for a special hardship order (eligibility is restricted) if you:

  • accumulated 2 or more demerit points on a 1-year good driving period
  • have been suspended for 6 months for speeding 40km/h over the limit

You must lodge your application for a special hardship order within 21 days of your licence suspension in your Magistrates Court district.

Late night driving restrictions

A provisional or probationary licence holder under 25 who commits a high speed offence or accumulates demerit points resulting in a licence suspension or good driving behaviour period is prohibited from driving between 11pm and 5am for 1 year. This restriction begins when your suspension ends or your good driving behaviour period begins. The restriction start date may change if you apply for a Special Hardship Order.

A provisional, probationary or open licence holder under 25 who gets a court ordered disqualification is prohibited from driving between 11pm and 5am for at least 1 year.

Alcohol ignition interlock program

An alcohol ignition interlock is a breath-testing device connected to a vehicle’s ignition that stops a vehicle being started if the driver has been drinking. You will be part of this program for 12 months and cover all costs if you are convicted of any of the following:

  • a drink driving offence recording a BAC of 0.15 or more
  • driving under the influence of liquor
  • failing to provide a blood or breath specimen for analysis
  • dangerous driving while affected by alcohol
  • 2 or more drink driving offences in a 5 year period

You must have a zero BAC when driving. In the program you are only allowed to drive a vehicle fitted with a prescribed interlock as nominated by the Department of Transport and Main Roads, via an approved interlock supplier. If you are unable to comply with this requirement you may be eligible for an exemption (considered on a case-by-case basis based on strict guidelines).

Not complying may extend your time in the program. If you decide not to follow the program, you will not be allowed to drive for 2 years after your disqualification.

Cumulative disqualifications

A cumulative disqualification period applies when convicted and disqualified for:

  • 2 or more drink or drug driving offences
  • a drink or drug driving offence and driving without a valid licence simultaneously

The disqualification periods will be served one after the other (cumulatively) starting on the date of the court conviction. On a cumulative disqualification, you are not allowed to apply for a restricted (work) licence. After serving a cumulative disqualification, contact the nearest licence-issuing centre to get your licence back.

Unlicensed and disqualified driving

Driving while disqualified by a court

You will be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver licence for a stated period by a court order if convicted of a:

  • drink or drug driving offence
  • dangerous driving offence
  • criminal offence involving driving

If caught driving while disqualified you will be charged with disqualified driving.

If convicted the court must further disqualify you for 2-5 years. You may also be fined in excess of $6600, and could be jailed for up to 18 months.

Driving while your Queensland driver licence or your authority to drive is suspended

Your driver licence will be suspended or your authority to drive under your non-Queensland driver licence will be withdrawn for a stated period if you have:

  • not paid your fines
  • accumulated too many demerit points
  • been convicted of speeding more than 40km/h over the limit
  • been charged with an offence subject to an immediate licence suspension

If caught driving while suspended or your authority to drive is withdrawn, you will be charged with unlicensed driving. If convicted, the court will disqualify you from holding or obtaining a licence, you may be fined over $4400, and face jail for up to 1 year.

Driving while your authority to drive is withdrawn

Authority to drive in Queensland on a non-Queensland licence is also withdrawn if:

  • the Department of Transport and Main Roads believes you have a mental or physical incapacity that affects your driving
  • the 3 month residency rule applies to you
  • you fail your Q-Safe practical driving test

If caught driving when your authority to drive is withdrawn, you may be given an infringement notice, or be dealt with by a court, for unlicensed driving. If a court finds you guilty, you may be fined in excess of $4400 and could be jailed for up to 1 year.

Driving when you do not hold a driver licence

You do not hold a valid licence if:

  • your licence is suspended, expired, or cancelled via court disqualification
  • you have voluntarily surrendered your licence
  • your licence has been suspended or cancelled because you have a mental or physical incapacity that affects your driving
  • you do not hold the class of licence for the vehicle you are driving
  • you have never held a licence
  • after a period of disqualification, you do not obtain a licence before driving again

If caught driving without a valid licence, you may be given an infringement notice, or be dealt with by a court, for unlicensed driving. If a court finds you guilty, you may be fined in excess of $4400 and could be jailed for up to 1 year.

 

Continue reading the Your Keys to Driving in Queensland Summary:

1. Introduction

2. Licences

3. Road Rules

4. Safe Road Use

5. Offences and Penalties

6. Your Vehicle

7. Organ Donation


Check out the other QLD Driving Test resources available to help you pass the written road rules test and get your learner licence (L plates):

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