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Mobile Phones – Know the Rules When on the Road

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Drivers using a mobile phone illegally have a greater chance of getting caught as NSW introduces mobile phone detection cameras.

Mobile phone detection cameras (a mix of both fixed and portable) are installed in NSW. The mobile phone detection cameras have sophisticated software that automatically detects if a driver is handling a phone. The cameras work night or day, in any weather conditions and can operate accurately at speeds of up to 300kmh.

Before mobile phone detection cameras were rolled out, a three month trial was implemented at two locations in metropolitan Sydney (Anzac Parade and the M4 Motorway) which resulted in 100,000 drivers being detected illegally using a mobile phone. This would be the equivalent of more than $34 million in fines.

Penalties for illegal mobile phone use while driving are substantial and even more so if caught in a school zones or during periods of double demerit points (such as the Christmas/New Year period).

Be further aware because unlike speed cameras in NSW, which have warning signs before them, there are no warning signs for mobile phone detection cameras.

Many drivers are still unaware of the fine print of the law when it comes to mobile phone use so before you head off this Christmas/New Year season ensure you know the rules:

Learner and Provisional licence holders are not allowed to use any function of a mobile phone while driving, including audio and navigation. The device should be kept out of reach and turned off so as not to distract the driver.

Fully licenced drivers must not touch their phone at all while driving but can use functions that are able to be activated by voice, such as making calls, playing audio and using navigation.

Drivers cannot touch the phone to take or make a call, even when in an approved and secure mobile phone mount. A mobile phone cannot be “held” which includes resting on any part of the driver’s body.

If the phone needs to be touched to operate audio or navigation functions, this must be set up before the vehicle is moving or only via smartphone mirroring apps such as Apple Car Play and Android Auto, which use the vehicle’s infotainment screen.

In NSW and most other jurisdictions, the car must be parked in a designated parking area and the vehicle stopped before a phone can be used. It is illegal to use a phone when the vehicle is stopped in a line of traffic.

Stay safe on the road.