Drivers blast ‘crazy’ $311 mask fine


Just when Australians thought they had finally got their heads around all the COVID-19 fines, authorities have pointed out another penalty relating to face masks.

NSW, Victoria and Queensland have adopted mandatory face masks for certain settings in a bid to protect against coronavirus outbreaks.

The fine for not wearing a face mask in the required settings in each of these states is $200.

But drivers have now been warned that where they choose to set down their mask while driving could also come with a hefty penalty.

The Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) has warned drivers in Queensland against hanging their face mask from their rear view mirror while driving.

Mask fine outrage. Picture: RACQ/Facebook
Mask fine outrage. Picture: RACQ/Facebook

Club spokesperson Lauren Ritchie said drivers could be hit with a $311 fine if police determine their face mask blocked their view of the road.

"Greater Brisbane drivers are naturally in the habit of having their mask handy at all times, but having a mask dangling from the rear-view mirror isn't safe," Ms Ritchie said.

"Drivers need to have a clear view of the road from all angles so they can easily spot other cars, pedestrians and cyclists.

"Masks can create a blind spot, increasing the risk of a crash, especially if you're travelling on highways or busy roads.

"You shouldn't have anything hanging on their mirror which could block your view - that includes your mask. So pack it away where it won't be a distraction - no matter how long your drive is."

Social media users were less than impressed after hearing about this rule, blasting it as "crazy" and accusing authorities of revenue raising.

"And will they start handing out fines to people who hang all the other sh*t off their mirrors?" one person asked.

"Just as distracting and dangerous to wear them while driving also," another claimed.

If you drive with your mask like this then you could be risking a huge fine. Picture: iStock
If you drive with your mask like this then you could be risking a huge fine. Picture: iStock

It isn't just Queensland drivers that have to worry about this rule, with the majority of states and territories having similar penalties for a driver's vision being obstructed.

In NSW, driving a motor vehicle without having a clear view of the road could result in a $349 fine and three demerit points.

In Victoria, failing to have full control and an uninterrupted view of the road could lead to a $248 penalty.

People in Greater Brisbane must wear a mask in indoor spaces, including shopping centres, supermarkets, hospitals and aged care facilities, gyms, certain workplaces, places of worship, public transport and airports.

They must also carry a face mask with them at all times when outside their home.

In Victoria, people must wear masks in the majority of the same settings and have to also carrying a mask at all times when leaving home.

People in Greater Sydney, including Wollongong, Central Coast and Blue Mountains, must wear a face mask in many of the same settings, including shopping centres, public transport, indoor entertainment venues, places of worship, hair and beauty premises, aged care facilities and airports.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on January 8 that all people within Australian International Airport environments must also wear a mask.

People travelling on domestic flights must now mask up as well.

While masks may not be mandatory in as many indoor settings across other parts of the country, obstructing your view by hanging a mask on the rear view mirror could still result in a fine.

Driving a motor vehicle without having a clear view could result in a $287 fine in South Australia and a $203 fine in the Australian Capital Territory.

In Tasmania, driving a motor vehicle without a clear view of the road and traffic ahead, behind and to each side could result in a $172 fine.

For people in Western Australia, driving a vehicle without having a clear view of the surrounding road and traffic could result in a $100 penalty.

Originally published as Drivers blast 'crazy' $311 mask fine