Sparesbox Blog

Mobile Phones & Driving: What’s the Law?

By Liam Ridings

Mon May 07 2018

When it comes to using your mobile phone while driving, do you know the law?

In 2017, NSW Police handed out more than 42,000 fines to drivers caught using mobile phones while driving, an offense that attracts a $330 fine and four demerit points.

Despite the hefty penalties and huge risks associated with using a mobile phone while driving, it seems that motorists still aren’t getting the message.

A recent survey by Finder found that 28% of drivers admitted to sending text messages when driving, while a further 27% said that they have answered calls directly to their ear.

A disturbing report from the NSW Centre for Road Safety found that mobile phone use was a factor in 41% of serious casualty crashes between 2008-2016 in drivers under 26-years old.

In an attempt to make the law surrounding using mobile phone while driving clear for all Australian motorists, the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, an industry body that represents carriage service providers, handset manufacturers, retailers, support industries and infrastructure suppliers, have created the website Keep Your Eyes on The Road, as a definitive reference point.

Keepyoureyesontheroad.org notes that the road rules for mobile phone use in Australia vary according to your state or territory. For a detailed report of the laws in your state, your best reference point is your state body.

All Australian States and Territories require drivers to have their mobile phone completely handsfree or safely mounted in a dock if they want to make calls while driving.

Drivers in New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory are permitted to use their mobile phone as a GPS navigation device while driving provided that the driver doesn’t touch the phone and the handset is mounted to the windscreen or dash using a commercially approved cradle.

Strangely, drivers in the ACT, Tasmania and South Australia are not permitted to use their phone as a GPS device but are permitted to use a portable navigation device for the same purpose.

Learner and P-Plate holders are not permitted to use their mobile phone or handsfree under any circumstances.

It’s not just mobile phones that Police are cracking down on. Smart watches are the latest target for police with drivers prohibited from making calls, receiving texts, playing music, or using social media.

Artificial Intelligence features such as Apple’s ‘Siri’ mean that drivers can use voice commands to get help with everything from texting, reading texts and making phone calls.

Aside from completely abstaining from mobile phone usage while driving, motorists are encouraged to arm themselves with a commercially approved mobile phone cradle.

Cygnett make a range of MagMount mobile phone holders that use a magnetic disc to attach your phone to its cradle. The MagMount phone cradle attaches directly to your windscreen. Alternatively, the Cygnett MagMount 360 Vent clips directly into your cars air conditioning vent.