Almost 2000 Queenslanders have received double demerit points and hundreds have had their licences suspended due to an error with the state’s new mobile phone and seatbelt detection cameras.
The error, identified by the Department of Transport and Main Roads, resulted in 1842 drivers receiving incorrectly issued double demerit points between November 1, 2021 and August 31, 2023.
These fines resulted in 626 drivers having their licences “incorrectly” suspended, and 236 “incorrectly” served good behaviour periods.
The error also resulted in 54 interstate or overseas licence holders also being incorrectly suspended from driving in the Sunshine State.
“Simply put, this should never have happened. I am very sorry to every person who has been impacted by this,” said Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey in a statement.
He has ordered an urgent independent review, to be completed in the coming months.
In remarks reported by the ABC, he said he was “angry” about the issue which he acknowledged “is our mistake”, blaming an “input” error in the program’s design that has since been rectified.
Impacted drivers are being notified from today, with the first to be notified those who have had their licences incorrectly suspended.
A dedicated 24/7 hotline has been established. Affected Queenslanders can reach it by dialling 1800 740 786.
121 drivers currently are still incorrectly serving suspensions and more than 600 are still incorrectly serving good behaviour periods.
“For the remaining licence holders who have retained their licence but incorrectly lost some points, TMR will reverse the incorrectly issued double demerit points,” Mr Bailey said.
“All offences were correctly recorded and financial penalties have been correctly issued – the design fault is solely in the application of double demerit points in specific circumstances.
“For those 121 people who currently have a licence that has been incorrectly suspended, Transport and Main Roads is requesting urgent legal advice on the swift re-issuance of incorrectly suspended licences.
The current status of drivers’ licences remains in place, and TMR warns drivers on suspended or disqualified licences not to drive or, if on a 12-month good driving behaviour bond, to keep following these conditions.
“The Department has corrected this error and is now contacting impacted customers,” said TMR acting director general Sally Stannard.
“The current status of your licence remains in place until the Department works with you to review individual circumstances.”
In Queensland, there’s a $1161 fine and four demerit points for each person not properly restrained.
Double demerit points apply for passenger seatbelt offences when the passenger is under 16, when recorded roadside by a Queensland Police Service officer.
It’s another embarrassing camera-related blunder for the Queensland Government, following its installation of school zone speed cameras that didn’t work.
Mr Bailey confirmed in July the cameras, which were supposed to be activated at the start of the school year, hadn’t recorded any infringement notices to speeders.
He said “technical issues” were to blame, and that he was only advised by his department in July that no fines had been issued.
“Seven months and no fines issued to speeding motorists is not good enough, and that is why I asked my department to address this issue as a matter of urgency,” said Mr Bailey.