A Queensland woman was fined $1000 after one of the state’s fancy new road cameras thought she was on her phone while driving — but she says she was just using her vape, which is legal.
Lilian Morrow, 19, posted about in a public Facebook group which tracks Queensland’s new phone and seatbelt detection cameras and asked what the wait time for a fine to be challenged in court was.
The sneaky roadside cameras (which only operate in Queensland at the moment) capture images of motorists using artificial intelligence to check if drivers have broken road rules like wearing a seat belt incorrectly or using a mobile phone.
According to the $1078 fine Morrow was slapped with, she’s accused of being on her phone while driving. However, she shared a picture (the receipts!!) the camera captured and said she plans to challenge the fine because she reckons it made a mistake.
“Quite clearly holding my trusty vape and my phone is in the passenger seat,” she wrote in her post.
It showed one hand on her steering wheel while her other hand holds something up to her mouth. The item isn’t visible, but there does appear to be a mobile phone in the passenger seat.
If she was vaping, Morrow would be in the clear because vaping while driving is legal in Queensland as long as there are no passengers in the vehicle.
People in the comments of Morrow’s FB post were pretty torn though, with some claiming she could have had a second phone in her hand. Others said it was obvious she was holding a vape, whereas some claimed the white string visible in the image she shared was from a pair of earphones.
Morrow, for her part, said the string was from the hoodie she was wearing.
According to The Courier Mail, Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads dismissed Morrow’s claim and said its camera’s images are reviewed by human officers before a fine is issued.
“The camera’s images are filtered by artificial intelligence software,” A TMR spokesman said in a statement.
“If a possible offence is detected, the image is reviewed by an authorised TMR officer to determine if an offence has been committed.”
This isn’t the first time young drivers have complained about wrongly being fined by Queensland’s sneaky cameras.
In August, an Aussie TikToker Hailey Gillard revealed she had been fined $1000 and lost four demerits despite being a passenger in a vehicle because she was wearing her seatbelt “incorrectly”.
“My seatbelt was underneath my arm because I was a bit carsick so I had to lean over,” Hailey explained.
Some comments on her videos shared similar stories, whereas others expressed disgust at such a harsh consequence considering she was a passenger.
“You get fined less for drink driving. That’s ridiculous,” one user said.