Gympie drivers slammed for keeping children unrestrained
THE RACQ has slammed the thousands of Queensland drivers - including more than 200 from a portion including Gympie - who have risked their children's lives by not properly restraining them.
Newly-released Department of Transport and Main Roads data revealed more than 1700 people were fined for the offence in 2018, with 210 of those committed in the Central police region.
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That region comprises Gympie, the Sunshine Coast, Bundaberg, Gladstone, Mackay, Maryborough and Rockhampton.
The Northern police region, covering areas like Cairns and Townsville, were the worst offenders with 446 drivers caught driving with an unrestrained child under seven years old.
RACQ spokesperson Lauren Ritchie said motorists called the offending "inexcusable".
"It's truly shocking drivers are risking the lives of babies and children," Ms Ritchie said.
"Police caught drivers either incorrectly restraining their child, having their child in an incorrect restraint or some not having their child restrained at all.
"You're not only risking a child's life, but you could be fined $400 and three demerit points. Not to mention double demerit points for any repeat offences within a year."
Ms Ritchie said it was vital children were given appropriate car seats for their age.
"Babies younger than six months must be in a rear-facing seat, but best practice is to keep them rear-facing for as long as possible for an extra level of protection," she said.
"Once your child is seven years old it doesn't automatically mean they can come out of a booster seat. They should be 145 centimetres tall so the seatbelt does its job properly in a crash. Shoulder height markers on child restraints indicate when it is time to upgrade.
"While a car seat can be costly, it can be the difference between life and death."