Either way, they will find some way to extract another few dollars from you

From 1 July 2018 new camera technology will be used in NSW to detect people using their mobile phones while driving. If caught using your mobile phone while driving, you will be facing fines of $330, or $439 if in a school zone.  4 demerit points will also be added to your driving record (which doubles to 8 during double demerit periods).

So, what do you need to know?

First of all, you need to know what using a mobile phone actually means. At law, using a mobile phone includes any of the following actions:

  1. Holding the body of the phone in your hand (except while in the process of giving the body of the phone to a passenger in your vehicle);
  2. Entering or placing, other than by use of your voice, anything into the phone, or sending or looking at anything that is in the phone;
  3. Turning the phone on or off; and
  4. Operating any other function of the phone.

Holding a phone means holding it, using, or resting it on, any part of your body (except your pockets or in a worn pouch).

As you can see, using your mobile phone has a very wide meaning and is designed to include any use of your mobile phone. For example, if you glance down left to look at a notification on your phone and it is not secured in a mounting affixed to your vehicle, you are using your mobile phone and are therefore committing an offence.

So when can you use your phone whilst driving?

For fully licensed drivers, motorcyclists and all bicycle riders you cannot use your mobile phone whilst your vehicle is moving, or is stationary but not parked, unless:

You are making or answering a call, or are using the audio playing function of your phone and your phone is secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle or is not secured in a mounting affixed to your vehicle and is being used by you in a way that does not require you, at any time whilst using it, to touch any part of the phone; or You are using it to visually aid you (such as using it’s GPS function) and the phone is secured in a mounting affixed to your vehicle.

 

For Learners, P1 and P2 drivers and motorcyclists you cannot use your mobile phone at all, and unfortunately, there is no way around it. Additionally, if you are a learner or P1 driver and you are found to have used your mobile phone, 4 demerit points will be added to your driving record (so you are exceeding your 3 demerit point limit) and face a three-month licence suspension from the Roads & Maritime Services.

During recent testing of the new camera technology on the Harbour Bridge, it was reported that over 100 people per hour were detected (700 in just 6 hours).  Compare this to the whole of the NSW Police force that currently issue about 100 infringements per week.  Using your mobile while driving is dangerous for you, your passengers and fellow motorists and pedestrians. In the period 2012 to 2017, there were 184 crashes attributed to illegal mobile phone use which resulted in 105 injuries and 7 deaths.

It’s all too easy to get distracted by mobile phones when driving.  So, ‘Get your hand off it’, follow the rules, and you’ll be sweet. New South Lawyers have successfully helped many clients with traffic law cases. If you are ever facing a traffic penalty and have any questions about it, or want to know more about the new legislation, call our team today on 1800 NSL NSL (1800 675 675).

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