When can I use a mobile phone in a car?
This is governed by REG 300 of the Road Rules 2014. Rules differ between unrestricted licence holders and P1/P2 license holders. The Road Rules 2014 provides that :
Learner, P1 and P2 licence holders
P1 and P2 drivers licence holders may not use their phones under any circumstances whilst driving. This includes use of Bluetooth or any ‘hands free’ functions.
Unrestricted licence holders and all bicycle riders
Unrestricted licence holders and bicycle riders may use mobile phone functions to: make or answer a phone call, play audio, or navigate the phone if the phone is:
- secured in a cradle; or
- able to be used without touching any part of the phone.
Note that if you do not have Bluetooth or a cradle, and pull to the side of the road to take a call, your vehicle engine MUST be switched off.
The law allows all drivers to:
- access a digital drivers’ license after a police officer has requested your license.
- Access wallet functions on a phone when:
- paying for an item, or
- accessing an area
- presenting a voucher or coupon
However, the vehicle MUST be stationery AND in a carpark, driveway or drive through.
What restrictions apply using a mobile phone in a car? (ALL road users)
Understanding what restrictions apply requires an understanding of how mobile phone ‘use’ is defined in the Road Rules. REG 300(4) of the Road Rules 2014 defines ‘use’ as:
- holding the phone in your hand (whether or not engaged in a phone call – unless you are passing the phone to a passenger in the vehicle); or
- entering any information into the phone; or
- sending any information from the phone; or
- looking at anything on the display screen; or
- turning the phone on or off; or
- operating any other function of the phone.
All of the following are all strictly prohibited unless you are parked and your engine is switched off: texting, emailing, social media, web browsing, video calls, and photography.
What penalties apply for illegal mobile phone use?
The following penalties exist for illegal mobile phone use:
- $349 + 5 demerit points (non-school zone)
- $464 + 5 demerit points (in a school zone.)
The above fines and demerit point penalties apply to camera-detected offences and to infringements issued by NSW Police.
Demerit points increase to 10 demerit points during double-demerit periods.
What are my options?
Pay the fine
This option is recommended where you:
- accept that you used your mobile phone illegally, and
- you do not stand to lose your licence, and
- you do not want the added expense of going to court to ask for leniency.
Plead guilty and ask the court for leniency
This option is recommended where you:
- accept that you used your mobile phone, and / or
- stand to lose your license, or come close to losing your licence, and /or
- have a valid reason why the court would show you some leniency (we can assist you in determining what the court considers valid. EG. Being stationery – with the engine running may convince the court to show you some leniency.)
Leniency is where the court has found you guilty but has chosen not to convict you. Where a non-conviction order (section 10) is made, you will:
- avoid a loss of demerit points
- avoid a fine.
Appeal my license suspension (where relevant)
This option is recommended where:
- my mobile phone offence leads to a license suspension. (see “Licence Appeals)
Plead not guilty
This option is exercised only where you are adamant that you did not use your phone illegally, and are prepared to attend court and defend your matter in a court hearing.
- A phone offence may be successfully defended in court if you can prove that an error has occurred.
- EG. You were holding your wallet and not your phone; or you were passing your phone to another person.
Please note that a mobile phone detection camera uses an infra-red flash to capture clear images of the interior of a vehicle in all traffic and weather conditions. Once an image is captured, the software automatically applies its artificial intelligence to assess the images. It rejects images of non-offending drivers and retains images of drivers that have potentially committed an offence. These images are then reviewed by human intelligence to determine whether an offence has occurred.
Let us help. Get in Touch.
Appointments can be conducted via:
- phone or
- face-to-face at our office.
Level 45, 680 George Street,
SYDNEY NSW 2000.
P: (02) 9145 1262 or 0407 122 230
By appointment only