Fines going up for reckless drivers

Published 6:00am 13 September 2023

Fines going up for reckless drivers
Words by Nick Crockford

Reckless drivers in the City of Moreton Bay’s 16 Queensland National Parks will be hit with much bigger fines from this week.

On Friday, fines issued by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) rangers in all national parks, will rise significantly for some offences.

Some of the most reckless driving offences in protected areas and reserves, such as Bribie’s off-road beaches, are increasing to match police fines. These include:

  • Failure to properly wear a seatbelt – fines will increase from $309 to $1161.
  • Driving without due care and attention – from $309 to $619.
  • Failure to wear a motorbike helmet riding or as a passenger - from $309 to $464.

A new $309 fine of dangerous driving of vehicles other than motor vehicles, such as e-scooters, will be introduced for State forests to match fines for protected and recreation areas.

Fines going up for reckless drivers

QPWS rangers are empowered to enforce these laws and can direct drivers or riders to stop. Failure to comply is an offence.

“Queensland is home to some of the most popular vehicle-accessible beach tracks in Australia – many are managed by QPWS,” Manager of QPWS Compliance Optimisation Michael Devery said.

“While most drivers and riders do the right thing, sadly we have seen the tragic consequences of irresponsible motorists including fatalities and significant injuries.”

Since 2013, there have been five fatal crashes on beaches managed by QPWS at Cooloola, K’gari and Bribie Island.

There have also been multiple serious rollovers needing the emergency services, most recently in January when a vehicle carrying seven teenagers rolled at Teewah Beach.

Dangerous driving, speeding and failure to wear a seatbelt were significant contributing factors to most of these incidents.

Fines going up for reckless drivers

Over the past 12 months, rangers have issued 29 fines for seatbelt offences, 79 for careless driving and three for failure to wear a motorbike helmet.

“Obey all signage including the speed limit, wear your seatbelt, never drink and drive and never let anyone without a licence behind the wheel,” Mr Devery said.

“The increased fines might hurt if you get one, but they’re a lot less painful than a vehicle rollover or worse.

“Driving in parks and on beaches means navigating changing conditions which can fluctuate daily, especially in tidal areas.

“We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable experience on our beautiful beaches, parks and forests, but it’s up to drivers to do the right thing to make this happen.”

Rangers regularly patrol national parks, State forests and recreation areas and work with Queensland Police to enforce the road rules.

For more information about driving on sand, click here.

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