A mum has received a $1000 fine after a speed camera spotted her pumping breast milk in her car.
Meagan Schmock couldn’t believe her eyes when she read the letter containing the eye-watering fine and discovered the photo detailing the alleged offence.
“It was $1161 and four demerit points. I was gobsmacked. I was shocked,” she told A Current Affair on Thursday.
“I saw the money fine first and I was just like, ‘What’s happened’?
“And then as I’ve unfolded the letter, I’ve seen this photo and then looked closer and been like, ‘That’s me pumping’.”
She had been sitting in the passenger seat of the car with her husband Benjamin, driving home from their Gold Coast honeymoon when the incident took place.
“To have to sit in the car for an hour-and-a-half, maybe two hours, waiting to get home to feed my little one, it just wasn't going to happen,” Mrs Schmock said.
“I was getting quite engorged and it was getting incredibly uncomfortable for me.”
Without thinking twice about it, she pulled her seatbelt over her head so she could unhook her breast pump.
She claims the photo shows the belt was slipped under her arm for a second and remained clipped in the whole time.
She said she had no idea she could be fined for adjusting her seatbelt and figured many others didn’t either, so she posted about the fine on social media explaining the situation.
“I felt a lot of support from that – realising that a lot more (mums) didn‘t know,” she said.
“As a breastfeeding mum – and I‘m sure any other mums who have breastfed or who have pumped before know that – you can’t just really wait.
“Particularly when you’re almost at the stage of engorgement, it’s incredibly painful.”
The couple are disputing the fine with the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
A TMR spokesperson did not comment on this case directly but said the risk of injury or death by not wearing a seatbelt “far outweighs” the “efficiency” of pumping while driving.
“Should a new mother need to express breast milk, they or their driver should stop and park safely before commencing,” the spokesperson said.
Incorrect or non-seatbelt use is a known factor in almost one in three lives lost on Queensland roads each year.