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Use your phone & gain 10 demerit points this weekend

Ev posing with mobile phone while parked in his HiLux

The NSW Roads and Maritime Services have recently changed the rules surrounding mobile phone use on public roads in NSW. Not only are the regulations pretty tight, but the demerit points penalty has been raised from four to five points. With double demerits over the upcoming long weekend, if you are caught using your mobile phone in NSW you can be rewarded with a generous 10 points, which is a fair proportion of the standard 13 points available on a full private licence.

There’s a host of rules and regulations out there regarding use of mobile phones in cars. Can’t do this, can’t do that, but what can you do legally? All the states have slightly different iterations but it all boils down much the same, with the fines and points being the biggest difference.

How can I use my phone?

So what is the deal? You can use your phone as you see fit, only if you are parked. This means pulled over out of the traffic, with the parking brake engaged and engine off.
You can receive or make a call if your phone is in a commercially designed and manufactured cradle fitted as per the manufacturer’s instructions and not blocking the view through the windscreen, AND the phone is using a handsfree system that doesn’t require the phone to be manipulated by the driver. Some states allow the driver to swipe the screen to accept or reject a call. At no time can you have the phone on your body to use it.

Phone cradles are legal to use
You can use a phone cradle like these and remain safe and legal.

What if I don’t have a cradle?

As the driver, the phone can’t be in your hand, resting on your leg or wedged between shoulder and neck. The driver can’t use the phone if the passenger is holding it. Some states allow the driver to pass the phone to their passenger without otherwise manipulating the phone.

Here is NSW’s take on the rules:

If using an iPhone that is resting on the passenger seat or dash, Siri can’t legally help you.
You can’t read a text message or email, even a preview, while the vehicle is not parked. You can’t have Siri or another app read the text message or email aloud to you. You cannot reply using a voice to text app or Siri either. Video messages are absolutely not allowed either.

NSW road rules relating to mobile phone use
Fully licensed motorists and all bicycle riders take heed!

GPS Navigation

Many of us use our phones for navigation. This can be done legally, but again the phone must be in a cradle as described above, with emphasis on not blocking the view from the driver’s seat or causing distraction.

Now don’t get your knickers in a knot: The police and other emergency services are exempt from these rules. If you want to have a cry about that, remember, police are also allowed to drastically exceed the speed limit, have blue lights on their cars, wield hand guns and take your licence away.
For more information or clarification, the Keep Your Eyes On The Road is an excellent resource, however each state and territory’s own roads and transport authority’s website are the most up to date and accurate.


Click here to post a comment

  • Pat,
    What are the regulations in regard to a hand-held CB radio? Surely holdind a CB radio or mobile are similar? Every truck driver uses a CB radio as do most RVs.

    • i feel that the use of uhf has very little in common with mobile phone use, when one has a phone to there head as on a call there is an immediate change in the persons brain as they can no longer control there mind to drive un affected by the phone as there concentration mode is focused on the person on the other end of the call.
      i ask you to think about this next time when using a phone whether your driving or walking the reflex to your surroundings is altered you, even if you do not think it you begin to only concentrate on the phone call,
      as for uhf use there is little to any difference to having a conversation with persons within the vehicle.
      so just get your phone sorted to use hands free or bluetooth and we will all be good

  • What about hand held UHF radios? You see plenty of them in vehicles these days. I haven’t heard of any one getting fined for using them.

  • This should no longer be a big deal. Most car entertainment systems allow for a Bluetooth connection to a mobile phone/device. Even in my cranky 10 year old 79 Series I am able to control the phone with the radio buttons with the phone being in my bag tucked behind the seat. Even when using the navigation app on the phone I listen to the voice commands coming through the car speakers rather than try to look at the phone screen.

  • Te the article about using mobile phones.
    Might I suggest the author have a look at their permit to drive. It is a licenCe not licenSe.

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