New rules for in-car mobile phone usage explained
From today there are some new road rules regarding what you can and can’t do with your mobile phone in your car while you’re driving.
The new rules for NSW state you can still utilise the calling, GPS and audio functionality of your mobile devices but only if it’s held securely in a fixed mounting.
By fixed mounting they mean a windscreen or dashboard mounted stand that can hold your smartphone safely and securely.
The fine for disobeying these new rules is the loss of three demerit points (four in a school zone) and $298 (in NSW) or $397 (in a school zone).
The reason behind this is to keep the driver’s eyes at road level rather than looking down in their lap at their device.
And while a mount is encouraged, the driver can still make use their mobile but they are not allowed to touch or manipulate the device in any way.
An example of this would be if your vehicle had Bluetooth connectivity built in and calls can be made and answered using dedicated controls on dash or on the steering wheel.
These new laws are enforcing that fact that you can’t touch or hold your phone while operating the vehicle.
And that also includes while you’re stopped at the lights – so don’t think you can start reading emails, tweeting or checking out Facebook while you’re waiting for the light to turn green. If you do – you’re breaking the law.
The only time you engage with your mobile is while it is in the mount and only to make or receive a call or adjusting the audio if it being used in the car.
The same thing applies if you are using your smartphone as a GPS – it must be in the mount.
But all other functions like texting, video chatting, reading messages and emailing are all prohibited.
The only time a driver can hold a mobile is when they are passing it to a passenger.
If you need to hold your phone you need to be parked by the side of the road to do so.
It should also be noted that learner drivers and P-platers are not allowed to use any function of their phone while they’re driving even if they have a hands-free kit or a mount.
These rules are specific to NSW with similar rules introduced in other states. No matter what state you live in it would be a good idea to adopt some of these suggestions to stay safe.
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