23 September, 2023
Drivers face hefty fines for reckless driving in parks
MOTORISTS caught taking potentially fatal risks in Queensland’s protected areas will be fined hundreds of dollars more by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) rangers under changes aimed at improving driver behaviour and the safety of visitors.
From 15 September, the fines issued by QPWS rangers for some of the most reckless driving offences committed in protected areas and reserves were increased to match fines issued by the Queensland Police Service.
Offences with increased penalties in national parks, State forests, recreation areas and reserves include:
▪ Failure to properly wear a seatbelt – fines will increase from $309 to $1,161
▪ Driving without due care and attention – from $309 to $619, and
▪ Failure to wear a motorbike helmet while riding, or being a passenger – from $309 to $464.
A new $309 fine of dangerous driving of vehicles other than motor vehicles, such as e-scooters, will also be introduced for State forests to match the existing fine for protected areas and recreation areas.
QPWS rangers are empowered to enforce these vehicle laws and can direct drivers or riders to stop. Failure to comply is an offence.
QPWS Compliance Optimisation manager Michael Devery said rangers made no apologies for handing out hefty fines to those caught endangering lives behind the wheel in protected areas.
“Queensland is home to some of the most popular vehicle-accessible beach tracks in Australia – many of which are managed by QPWS,” he said.
“While most drivers and riders do the right thing while visiting these places, sadly we have seen the tragic consequences of irresponsible motorists including fatalities and significant injuries.”
Over the past 12 months, rangers have issued 29 fines across the State for seatbelt offences, 79 fines for careless driving and three fines for failure to wear a motorbike helmet.
Mr Devery said avoiding these hefty fines was easy.
“Obey all signage including the speed limit, wear your seatbelt, never drink and drive and never let anyone without a licence behind the wheel,” he 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.
“That’s why it’s so important for drivers, riders and passengers to be secure, sensible and alert at all times.
“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 carry out regular patrols of national parks, State forests and recreation areas and work in partnership with the Queensland Police Service to enforce the road rules.