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Using your phone while driving – Fines & Penalties

Using a phone while driving - fines and penalties

Did you know it’s illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving in all Australian states?

In Victoria the laws around using a mobile phone while driving are the strictest in the country, with the biggest fines and a total ban on all phone use for P and Learner drivers.

Some may remember the Transport for NSW campaign a few years ago dubbed “Get Your Hand Off It” which made using a phone while driving socially unacceptable. For good reason.

Did you know using a phone while driving kills more drivers in Australia than driving without a seatbelt?

This stat is courtesy of the NSW Centre for Road Safety, and it means it’s on the top 5 list of fatal accident causes along with speeding, drink driving, and fatigue.

Let that sink in.

You don’t want to die, do you?

Maybe you consider yourself the best driver south of Mount Panorama, and you’re perfectly capable of using your mobile phone while driving. But if you get caught by the cops, you’ll cop a hefty fine.

In NSW alone, more than 20,000 people were booked in the last 6 months.

The occasional police blitz can see over 1,000 fined. Just in NSW on a regular February day. That number is increasing as police adopt new tools like roving police cameras to catch people who think they can get away with using a mobile phone while driving.

How can using a phone while driving get you a penalty?

Below are some of the common actions which are deemed illegal under Australian laws regarding mobile phone use while driving (this can include stationary and not parked):

If the phone is not secured in a fixed mounting device it is illegal to:

  • Dial a number by hand.
  • Answer a call by hand.
  • Conduct a call via speakerphone with the phone on your lap.
  • Use the music or GPS functions of the phone.

If the phone is secured in a fixed mounting device it is also illegal to:

  • Send or access text messages.
  • Use email functions.
  • Use any phone functions if you are a Learner or P1 Provisional driver.

Needless to say, using any app, including responding to urgent Tinder requests, is a very good way to cop the biggest penalty possible. When that happens, it’s possible you won’t be taking your Tinder date anywhere. You’ll be too broke from paying the fine, and on a double demerit period can even get a driving ban.

The Classic “Get Your Hand Off It” Campaign Video feat. Derek Anderson

We’ll cover local state laws shortly, but let’s take a quick break and check out the awesome Derek Anderson in one of the “Get Your Hand Off It” campaign videos.

Phone Laws & Fines in Sydney (and NSW)

The fine for using a mobile phone while driving in NSW is $387. In a school zone you can pay as much as $514.

That’s a lot of money, don’t you think?

On top of that there’s a penalty of 5 demerit points, which would be a whopping 10 demerit points during a designated double demerit period.

The rapid uptake of smartphones over the past decade and their increasing importance in our day-to-day lives is a big factor in the extent of these penalties. It seems we’re so addicted to our phones we can’t keep our hands off them behind the wheel, even when risking hefty fines and a potential loss of license.

Phone Laws & Fines in Melbourne (and Victoria)

If you thought the fines were heavy in NSW, in Melbourne and the state of Victoria you can be fined $555 if caught touching your phone while driving. You may also incur a 4 demerit point penalty.

According to VicRoads, if the matter is heard at court, the fine for illegal mobile phone/device use can be as much as $1,849.

Find Out More

Australian road rules vary from state to state, which is why fines and penalties for mobile phone use while driving vary. Fines and penalties vary over time, and do not expect this to be in your favour.

If you get caught using your mobile phone while driving and fined, your only sensible option is to pay the fine. It is very rare for such a matter to be waved off in court. You did the crime, you do the fine – that’s how the law will see it.

Make sure you check your state’s government road transport authority for the latest fines and penalties.

One response to “Using your phone while driving – Fines & Penalties”

  1. Criminal defense lawyers are tasked with safeguarding the rights of their clients, irrespective of the charges they face.

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