In a stronger effort to crack down on drivers who use mobile phones while driving, the NSW Government has introduced the toughest demerit-point penalty for the offence in Australia.
The penalty for illegally using a mobile phone while driving in NSW will increase from four to five demerit points starting September 17.
During holidays, the offence will attract 10 demerit points – up from 8 points.
The fine remains $337 or $448 if detected in a school zone.
For fully licenced drivers and motorcyclists and all bicycle riders, mobile phones may be used to make or answer calls and to use the audio playing function (e.g. music) only under the following conditions:
- Only if the phone is in a cradle fixed to the vehicle and does not obscure your view of the road or only if the phone can be operated without touching any part of the phone (e.g. via Bluetooth or voice activation).
Mobile phones may also be used as a driver’s aid (e.g. navigation) only if the phone is in a cradle fixed to the vehicle and does not obscure your view of the road.
Learner, P1- and P2-licence holders are not permitted to use a mobile phone at all while driving or riding.
This includes when waiting at traffic lights or stuck in traffic – they must be parked out of the line of traffic to use their phones in any way.
In the 2018 financial year, more than 40,000 people were fined for using their phones while driving.
In 2012–17, there were 175 crashes involving mobile phones resulting in nine deaths and 50 serious injuries.
Bernard Carlon, Centre for Road Safety executive director, said illegal mobile-phone use is a growing problem in NSW and is under-reported in road crashes.
“We know around 25 per cent of drivers in NSW admit to doing it,” Mr Carlon said.
“At 60km/h, a car travels 33 metres in two seconds; at 100km/h, it travels 55 metres.
“Take your eyes off the road for a few seconds and you continue to travel virtually blind.”
The Government has already passed legislation to support testing of camera-based technology to enforce mobile phone offences in the future – a world-first.
“This will send the drivers of NSW a clear message that using a mobile phone while driving is potentially deadly and will not be tolerated on NSW roads,” Mr Carlon said.
- More at Transport for NSW’s website.
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