Fines for driving infringements vary wildly from state to state, with some residents required to pay triple the fine for the same offence.
Enormous variations in fines for driving offences result in some Australian drivers paying fines three times higher than those in other states.
Drivers busted using their phone on the road pay $298 in NSW, compared to $1033 in Queensland. But motorists in the sunshine state are given a relatively low fine for driving without a seatbelt – $391 – compared to Victorian residents who pay up to $1450 for their first offence.
A study of common fines across Australia by Budget Direct found that Queensland is the state with the strictest driving laws, due in part to high fines for mobile phone use and driver distraction ($1000).
The insurer examined the highest possible fine for a first offence for five key driving infringements – speeding, drink driving, driver distraction, mobile phone use and driving without a seatbelt – and ranked states according to a score out of 100.
Queensland topped the list with a score of 77.3, ahead of Western Australia with 69 and Victoria’s 65.8. The middle ground was occupied by the ACT (57), South Australia (52.7) and Tasmania (48), while the Northern Territory (44.9) and NSW (42) had the most lenient fines.
Some of the highest penalties were reserved for drink driving, an offence that attracts a $4200 penalty in Tasmania, $3859 in Queensland and $3635 in Victoria.
Jonathan Kerr, chief growth officer at Budget Direct, said it was “surprising to see such significant variation in the maximum possible first time offence fines across the country, particularly where the highest fine is three or four times higher than the lowest possible maximum in some areas”.
“The impact that all of these offences can have is potentially severe, so it’s only right that states take appropriate measures to discourage drivers from engaging in these risky behaviours,” he said.
“When driving anywhere, it’s important to do so without distraction, whether that be from a mobile phone or other source, and in as safe a manner as possible, without the influence of alcohol, speeding unnecessarily and using appropriate safety measures such as seatbelts.”