(New regulations apply from 1st February 2020, click here to know more.)
The invention of mobile phones has greatly impacted our lives and they are becoming a device human can’t live without.
With that said, the temptation of keeping our hands off our mobile phones can both be challenging and overwhelming.
Recently, the Queensland Transport Department has implemented a new traffic law about using your mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle on the road.
Whether you are texting, answering a call, using the map function for navigation or changing your playlist, you may receive a penalty of $400.
If you are not cautious and were caught a second time, you may lose your driver licence altogether.
In Queensland, using your phone while driving is considered as a contravention of the Road and Traffic Regulations.
2. When we say ‘’use’’, what does that mean?
- Holding your phone
- In hand
- On lap
- Between shoulder and ear
- Texting/audio texting
- Using social media
- Taking photos
- Operating any function on your phone such as:
- Switching your phone to loudspeaker
- Picking a song
- Entering a destination
All these actions are commonly seen in our daily lives, but it is not bearable when you are operating a motor vehicle on road.
Stopping in front of traffic lights or a congested road does not grant you any excuse from being penalised!
As using mobile phones while driving is seen as illegal, you really shouldn’t be touching your phone while driving, otherwise, you bear the risk of being penalised.
3. “What about using loudspeaker?”
There are different restrictions imposed on a Learner, P1 (red plate) and P2 (green plate) licence holder.
3.1 Learner’s Licence or P1 Licence
If you are under 25 years old and is currently holding a Learner or P1 licence, you are strictly prohibited from utilising your mobile phone on loudspeaker function, through wireless headsets or hands-free.
This applies to any passenger(s) who are sitting next to a Learner or P1 licence driver.
3.2 Open Licence or P2 Provisional Licence
However, there is an exception to an Open Licence and P2 Provisional Licence holder.
Holding an open licence doesn’t mean you can use your phone while driving. It merely allows you to talk on the phone via a hands-free or Bluetooth function.
If your phone is fixed to a cradle in the motor vehicle you are operating, you are permitted to use your phone on loudspeaker so long as you are not touching your phone while driving.
If you would like to use your phone for GPS navigation, you need to ensure that you set up everything before you start driving on the road.
4. “What happens if I was caught using my phone while driving?”
According to the new traffic rules, you will be issued a $400 fine and charged with 3 demerit points on your licence.
If you are caught a second time for the repeat offence within 1 year, you will have double demerit points added to your traffic history.
As the number of fines has continuously increased over the years, the Government is planning to propose a $1,000 on-the-spot fine to drivers who are caught using their phones behind the wheel.
The goal is to ensure that all drivers are aware of the danger it may cause to other road users and to improve road safety.
5. “I disagree with the penalties. Can I appeal?”
You are required to fill the back page of the fine and post it to the address within 28 days.
Before you take any further action about your appeal, you are recommended to seek legal advice from a lawyer to avoid any unnecessary fees.
An appeal is never a short process, do think twice before you act.
If you encounter any problems about your fine, please contact Ascent Lawyers. We are more than happy to assist you with your matter.
6. Kind Reminder
- Turn off your phone before you start driving, this will prevent you from being tempted to use your phone while on the road.
- If you really need to use your mobile phone while driving, ensure that you install a hands-free kit. This only applies to open or P2 Provisional Licence holders.
- If you are intending to stay inside your car, you are allowed to use your phone provided that you have completely stopped your car in a legal parking area.
For more information, please take a look at the following links: