Queensland's transport minister has been forced to issue an apology to the state's drivers after it emerged almost 2,000 people had been incorrectly slapped with double demerit points for seatbelt-related offences.
It's understood a total of 1,840 motorists were incorrectly given four demerit points for the infringements rather than two, after "a design fault" was uncovered "in the mobile phone and seatbelt camera system".
Captured by cameras between November 1, 2021, and August 31 of this year, the blunder has meant that over 600 drivers have had their licences suspended when they shouldn't have, while some 860 are currently, wrongly serving good behaviour bonds.
Authorities are expected to contact drivers affected across Queensland in the coming days.
'This should never have happened'
Facing criticism over the mix-up, the state's transport minister Mark Bailey said he was "very angry".
“Simply put – this should never have happened. I am sorry to every person impacted by this," he said.
“My department is receiving urgent legal advice on the swift re-issuance of incorrectly suspended licences.
“For the remaining licence holders who have retained their licence but incorrectly lost some points, Transport and Main Roads will reverse the incorrectly issued double demerit points.
“All offences were correctly recorded and financial penalties have been correctly issued – the design fault is solely in the application of double demerit points in specific circumstances."
He added that he "expects the review to be complete in the coming months".
Hotline open to assist those affected
Sally Stannard, Acting Director General, Transport and Main Roads said a hotline has also been set up for drivers who were incorrectly penalised.
“The Department has corrected this error and is now contacting impacted customers," she said.
“The current status of your licence remains in place until the Department works with you to review individual circumstances. We have also established a dedicated phone number for customers who are concerned this may impact them and details are available on the Department’s website.
“Drivers are reminded that they must ensure their passengers are buckled up before starting their journey or risk serious injury or worse.”
Officials remind the public that a licence will remain suspended unless specifically told otherwise by Transport staff.
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