What you need to know
Effective financial penalties can support road safety by supporting enforcement officers to enforce the road rules. To be effective, infringement fees and fines should reflect the risk of harm or the harm caused by the offending behaviour. Penalties should be proportionate, have a deterrent effect and be reasonable.
Infringement fees and fines in the transport sector have developed over many years and have not been reviewed systematically. As a result, a number of road safety related penalties may be poorly targeted, may be too low to deter undesirable behaviour and do not align with the level of risk.
The review of road safety penalties is one of 15 initial actions under the Road to Zero strategy. This programme of work aims to ensure that penalties are proportionate to the risk of harm and reflect society’s expectations.
Mobile phone penalties increased
Distracted driving due to mobile phone use is a contributing factor in road crashes. The current fee for using a mobile phone while driving is $80, which is out of step with other moving vehicle offences (set at $150). In March 2021, Cabinet agreed to raise mobile phone penalties to $150 from 30 April 2021.
Road to Zero strategy consultation
The Government agreed to consult on the new Road to Zero road safety strategy and initial set of actions. A review of road safety penalties was named as a priority action for the initial action plan.