Offences and Charges for Using a Mobile Phone While Driving
The use of mobile phones while driving has become a concerning issue on roads across New South Wales (NSW). Distracted driving due to phone use poses a serious risk to road safety, increasing the likelihood of accidents and endangering lives. In this article, we will explore the various offences and charges associated with using a mobile phone while driving in NSW and discuss the defences available for those facing such charges.
Texting or Sending Messages
Typing, sending, or reading text messages or emails while driving is strictly prohibited.
Talking on Handheld Phones
Holding a mobile phone to engage in voice calls is an offence, as it diverts attention from the road.
GPS and Navigation Apps
Manipulating a GPS or using navigation apps on a handheld device while driving is considered an offence.
Streaming and Social Media
Watching videos, accessing social media platforms, or browsing the internet on a mobile phone while driving is illegal.
Penalties for Using a Mobile Phone While Driving
Fines and Demerit Points
Offenders face significant fines and demerit points on their driving record, depending on the severity of the offence.
Double Demerit Points
During holiday periods and long weekends, using a mobile phone while driving may result in double demerit points.
Repeat offenders risk having their license suspended, and they may also incur a longer disqualification period for subsequent offences.
If a driver can demonstrate that phone use was necessary to address an emergency, it may serve as a valid defence.
Legal Use of Mobile Phones
Drivers may use hands-free devices, such as Bluetooth headsets, mounted phones, or voice-activated commands, without violating the law.
In some cases, drivers may argue that they were not using a mobile phone while driving, and the alleged offence was a misunderstanding.
Honest and Reasonable Mistake
A driver might present an honest and reasonable belief that they were not using their phone inappropriately, which could be considered as a defence.
The Dangers of Distracted Driving
Reduced Reaction Time
Engaging with a mobile phone while driving significantly impairs a driver’s reaction time, leading to delayed responses in critical situations.
Focusing on a mobile phone takes attention away from the road and other vehicles, increasing the risk of collisions.
Increased Accident Risk
Drivers using mobile phones are more likely to cause accidents due to reduced situational awareness.