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2 in 5 drivers risking hundreds in fines with dangerous behaviour behind the wheel

Reviewed by Executive General Manager of Car Insurance, Adrian Taylor
5 min read
11 Apr 2024

They’re designed to keep our roads safe, but alarming new research from Compare the Market has found that as many as two in five drivers say mobile and seatbelt detection cameras have not deterred them from risky driving behaviour. With children returning to school and our roads busier than ever, Compare the Market is urging drivers not to fall back into old habits when they get behind the wheel.When asked if mobile phone and seatbelt detection cameras deterred risky driving behaviour, an astonishing 44% of those survey admitted that they haven’t altered their dangerous habits.

Action% of people
Has deterred risky behaviour56.0%
Has not deterred risky behaviour44.0%

Furthermore, the research found that over half of Baby Boomer drivers did not have any behavioural change in their driving style thanks to the cameras, while two-thirds of Gen Z drivers, the most out of any generation questioned, said that these cameras have deterred them from partaking in illegal and risky behaviour.

Generation% of people who say it has deterred risky behaviour% of people who say it has not deterred risky behaviour
Gen Z66.4%33.6%
Gen X63.2%36.8%
Baby Boomers47.8%52.2%

Commenting on the research, Compare the Market’s Executive General Manager for General Insurance and car insurance expert, Adrian Taylor, said it was worrying to see so many Australians admit to risky behaviour behind the wheel.

“At the end of the day, distracted driving is the leading cause of accidents, but common road rage acts such as abuse, speeding, tailgating, and even changing lanes erratically can be considered punishable offences by the law,” Mr Taylor said.

“Additionally, if people were to have an accident which is either caused by or involves reckless behaviour such as using a mobile phone, it may impact the outcome of a  claim they may have put through.

“Not only that, but insurers may also drive up comprehensive car insurance policy premiums for people who have a bad driving history, filled with traffic offences. In the worst-case scenario, insurers may even refuse cover to people who they deem too high risk due to their driving history.”

Despite the continuous education on distracted driving, which according to the Australian Automobile Association, contributes to around 16% of all serious casualty road crashes across Australia, and some hefty fines from state police for mobile phone use and incorrect seatbelt placement, there are still plenty of people willing to engage in risky driving behaviours.

According to Compare the Market’s survey, New South Wales drivers were the most likely to be deterred from partaking in dangerous driving behaviours due to these mobile and seatbelt cameras. Still, as many as one in three NSW drivers stated the cameras and technology wouldn’t deter their risky driving behaviour.

West Australian drivers were the least likely to be deterred from unsafe driving practices, with as many as two in three saying that mobile and seatbelt cameras have no effect on their driving.

State% of people who say it has deterred risky behaviour% of people who say it has not deterred risky behaviour
New South Wales65.9%34.1%
South Australia60.0%40.0%
Western Australia35.10%64.9%

The Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory and Tasmania have been excluded from the above table detailing risky driving behaviours due to lower sampling. However, those responses have been included in all other breakdowns in the media release.

Mr Taylor said that it’s surprising not to see a linear trend between people being deterred and states with higher fines.

“It’s quite interesting to see that Queenslanders are not as likely to be deterred by mobile phone and seat belt cameras as their Southern counterparts, despite having a higher financial penalty,” Mr Taylor said. “If you were caught using your phone in Queensland behind the wheel, you would have to pay more than double the fine than if you were caught using your mobile phone in a school zone in New South Wales.

“There also seems to be great variations in sentiments between the states, with almost two in three West Australians stating that these cameras don’t work on them.”

State-by-state breakdown of fines for using a mobile phone while operating a vehicle.

StateFineDemerit points
Queensland$11614 demerit points
New South Wales$387 or $514 if detected in a school zone5 demerit points
Victoria$555 (or up to $1849 if it heads to court)4 demerit points
South Australia$5403 demerit points
Western Australia$500 if touching or holding phone to make a call,3 demerit points
or $1000 if writing, sending or reading text or similar4 demerit points
Australian Capital Territory$632 if using the device for messaging, social networking, accessing apps or the internet4 demerit points
$514 if using device for another reason outside of a cradle3 demerit points
Northern Territory$5003 demerit points
Tasmania$3903 demerit points

State-by-state breakdown of fines for not wearing a seatbelt properly while operating a vehicle.

StateFineDemerit points
Queensland$11614 demerit points
New South Wales$3523 demerit points
Can go up to $1487 depending on the number of people without a seatbelt in the carUp to 6 demerit points
Victoria$385 minimum, amount increases if passengers are not wearing seatbelts3 demerit points
South Australia$4223 demerit points
Western Australia$550-$900 if driver is unrestrained + the number of unrestrained passengers4 demerit points
$500-$800 if driver is restrained but passenger(s) are not4 demerit points
Australian Capital Territory$3533 demerit points
Northern Territory$5003 demerit points
Tasmania$3903 demerit points



For interviews and more information, please contact:

Noémi Hadnagy | m: 0433 377 252 | e: [email protected]    

Compare the Market is a comparison service that takes the hard work out of shopping around. We make it Simples for Australians to quickly and easily compare and buy insurance, energy, and home loans products from a range of providers. Our easy-to-use comparison tool helps you look for a range of products that may suit your needs and benefit your back pocket.

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avatar of author: Noémi Hadnagy

Written by Noémi Hadnagy

As a Media and Comms Advisor, Noémi works closely with a variety of expert teams at Compare the Market to create compelling and informative pieces to help Australians make better financial decisions. Noémi holds a Bachelor of Business - International majoring in Public Relations from Queensland University of Technology as well as a Bachelor of Business Administration specialising in International Business from BI Norwegian Business School. In her spare time, you can find her reading a book or planning her next international holiday.

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