How To Legally Use Your Phone While Driving

As of 12:01am last night, if you were caught even stroking your phone from the comfort of your driver's seat in New South Wales, you'd pick up a fine of $298 from the boys and girls in blue. Here's a quick guide on your rights and responsibilities while driving so you can stay safe, connected and $300 better off.

Also: How Australian Mobile Phone Laws Stack Up

The Law

The changes to the NSW Road Rules are broad (like, really broad), but the main point of interest is about the use of mobile phones while driving. Here's the updated regulations, as spelled out by Transport for NSW (PDF) (read: what you used to call the RTA):

While a vehicle is moving or stationary (but not parked), a driver may only use a mobile phone to make or receive a call or use the audio playing function:
• If the mobile phone is secured in a fixed mounting; or • If not in a mounting, use of the mobile phone must not require a driver to touch or manipulate the phone in any way.
All other functions including texting, video messaging, online chatting, reading preview messages and emailing are prohibited. The new laws make it clear that a driver in a moving or stationary vehicle (unless parked) MUST NOT HOLD a phone in his or her hand other than to pass the phone to a passenger.
Penalty: 3 demerit points (4 in a school zone) and $298 ($397 in a school zone)
NOTE: Learner and Provisional P1 drivers are not allowed to use ANY function of a phone (including hands-free) while driving.

In layman's terms, that basically means if you get caught even touching your phone while the car is running, you're nicked. Not only will you be $300 poorer in the best case scenario, you'll also be done out of three precious demerit points, and those penalties only go up if you're inside a school zone. So how can you make sure you're safe?

The Fix

Obviously, you should comply with the law at all times. Using your phone will driving is an ill-advised activity, and several studies have said that even talking on a hands-free system as you drive is just as distracting as touching and interacting with the device itself. But if you're one of those folk who can't take a trip without losing connectivity, here are a few tips:

Get A Cradle

You can be sure that if there's a phone out there, there is someone making an in-car cradle for it. Everything from the iPhone 5 through to the enormous Samsung Galaxy Note II will have one that you can use.

If you choose go down this road, make sure the phone you're using comes with some sort of wireless answering system or Bluetooth functionality so you can answer it without actually touching it, because if you have to go hands-on, you'll be breaking the law.

Also, if you're super-concerned about the changing nature of dock connectors, make sure you get a cradle that can be adjusted and doesn't include a charging adaptor built-in. You can always buy a portable one that plugs into a cigarette lighter to go with whichever phone you find yourself saddled with at the time.

Bluetooth

We touched on it in the last tip, but it's worth noting that the law doesn't actually mention a damn thing about your Bluetooth system. That feasibly means you could have a Bluetooth speaker attached to your visor, a headset on your ear or a built-in system in your car and not get nicked.

Speakers and headsets are fairly inexpensive, and a lot of new cars actually come with Bluetooth systems built-in. Make sure you pair up before you fire up the engine, though.

Voice Commands

Most handsets now come with some kind of voice command system you can use via Bluetooth or other related headset. That means you'll be able to get around the bans on reading emails and texts on the go by just ordering your phone to read these things out to you. Just make sure however you activate the voice command system doesn't require you to go hands-on with the device and you ought to be in the clear.

Bring A Friend

The law states that you can only touch your phone if you're passing it to the passenger. That means if you're a social butterfly, you can always bring a friend with you to answer your phone when it rings.

Just Switch Off

Of course, there's a strong case to be made for just switching your phone to silent mode and throwing it in the back seat as you drive. If it's an important call, the person will leave a message or call you back later, and I'm yet to read an email out of the hundreds I get a day that I would happily break the law just to read.

Surely no email, text message or otherwise is worth $300 and possibly the lives of you, your passengers and even innocent bystanders, is it?

Those are just a few of our best tips for avoiding attention from the fuzz on the road. What are your best? Let us know in the comments.

Image: Corey Oltman / Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0


Comments

    Good old handsfree + voice to sms work well anyway. The only part that shits me is that it's no longer legal to sit your phone in the ash tray running GPS, it has to be fixed mounted.

    (for NSW)

    • If the mobile phone is secured in a fixed mounting; or
    • If not in a mounting, use of the mobile phone must not require a driver to touch or manipulate the phone in any way.

    Ok, let me get this straight. If the phone is in a fixed mounting, am I allowed to touch it to answer or end calls?

      No.

        Yes, you are allowed to touch it if it is in a fixed mounting. There is another new rule that has specifics about the mount and where it is positioned, too, so you can't just make your own out of cardboard and put it in the footwell.

          Agreed. This has been brougth up numerous times since the law was announced. There's a lot of holes in this law that has been poorly written. You could mount the phone and still do text messaging and by the law, you are in the right. The law is the law.. there's no interpretting it to make it fit the desired intentions that they original meant for the law.. that's the law makers' problem for not writing it properly.

          Also another thing to know about this law is that police are exempt from this law. As in, they are above the law.

            "You could mount the phone and still do text messaging and by the law, you are in the right"
            Except
            "All other functions including texting, video messaging, online chatting, reading preview messages and emailing are prohibited."
            So I guess not.

              I text message using voice. Is that illegal now? From what I read, functions other than a normal call isn't allowed anymore. What about phone GPS? What if a short text preview pops up on my phone while I am looking at it while it is giving me map directions?

            Wrong. Those things are specifically covered - "All other functions including texting, video messaging, online chatting, reading preview messages and emailing are prohibited. " You are only allowed to use your phone whilst driving to make/receive calls and to play music/audio. For any other functions you need to pull over and park.

            Police are exempt from many laws, as are ambos and firemen. But it is not a blanket exemption, they can only do it under specific circumstances and the number of times it would actually come up would be very small. At least they undergo proper driver training.

            "ROAD RULES 2008 - REG 305
            Exemption for drivers of police vehicles

            A provision of the Australian Road Rules does not apply to the driver of a police vehicle if:
            (a) in the circumstances:
            (i) the driver is taking reasonable care, and
            (ii) it is reasonable that the provision should not apply
            (b) if the vehicle is a motor vehicle that is moving..."

              Yes but who will police the police to ensure they are not texting their BFF? hrmm? you? me? their partner?

                Then who will police the people who police the police. Then we need someone to police those people, and someone to police those people. At least it would solve unemployment issues :). That same logic can be applied to any job or really anything. Better to not trust anyone, not the banks, doctors, friends or family. (Rolls eyes)

                The laws are quite clear. You are just trying to find reasons to hate on the police. Yes there might be a small minority of police who will flaunt the law. But dose that then mean we shouldn't have the law (or any) or should we not follow them. Or should we only follow the laws that suit ourselves. Because that would work so well!

                Who will police any of us? When was the last time you saw someone being pulled over by the police? I reckon I would have seen less than a dozen in the last 10 years. A few years ago, the cops in NSW stopped issuing fines for a while (industrial action) so I made a point of speeding ALL the time, just to see if I'd get pulled over at any point. I was doing 80 in 60 zones whenever I could and doing ridiculous speeds at night but not once did I even see a cop car during the two weeks of the action. Now I speed all the time anyway, with a little more care (but not much), and I am still waiting to get caught. It just won't happen because the police don't do that stuff any more.

                The only time you'll get in trouble is if you have an accident and it is the same for police and everyone else. If you are seen with a phone in your hand just prior to running up the back of the car in front, you'll get done and so would a policeman.

                  I take it you have not been taking the m4 lately

              Actually the police are NOT exempt from the law itself. All the exemption means (and it's not an exemption under law) is that the Police have an affirmative defense IF they can reasonably show they were using the device within the elements shown within 305(a). This does not mean they can not be fined, just that they can use the above as defenses for not paying the fine.

              Though in the real world the police would not be fined unless they came up against someone actually proving them to be using these devices in a manner not allowed by anyone else.

              As for the rest of this 'mobile' statute. It is highly ambiguous, basically unworkable unless police can give absolute evidential proof - not just them saying they witnessed it, and open to numerous conflicts under State and Federal statutes and precedents.

              Will love to see the first major push back by solicitors for this.

              Last edited 01/11/12 5:56 pm

            They are only exempt from the law if the use of the mobile phone is for work related reasons. They CAN NOT tweet or jump on FB, play angry birds or read emails or texts just for the fun of it. It has to be in the line of duty.

            By why let facts ruin something. Easier to just hate on the cops!

              That begs the question on how tight "work related reasons" are. What if 2 minutes of playing angry birds help get an officer into a better work mode?

      That's how it reads to me... I dunno where the idea that this is not allowed is coming from.
      Sounds like you can play/pause music too.

    You are slightly off-base here. The way I read the new rule, if your phone is secured in a cradle, you can touch it to answer a call or change the music, you just can't remove it from the cradle while you are driving. So all you need is a cradle and speaker mode to be able to answer calls in a car - one tap to answer, one tap to go to speaker for me and I'm fine.

    Interestingly, when I got my license in 1975, all those "new" rules were exactly as they are explained in the PDF and the way I have always driven.

    Last edited 01/11/12 11:33 am

      The NSW update to road rules pamphlet specifies speaker phone is not allowed. You would either need a plug in hands free kit or bluetooth hands free kit, whether this is built into the car or an earpeice it doesn't matter.

      Directly from the PDF on RTA website: http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/usingroads/downloads/nsw_road_rules_2012.pdf

      It explains that while cradled, making and receiving calls is the only function where you are allowed to touch the phone.

      Use of mobile phones
      While a vehicle is moving or stationary (but not parked),
      a driver may only use a mobile phone to make or
      receive a call or use the audio playing function:
      • If the mobile phone is secured in a fixed mounting; or
      • If not in a mounting, use of the mobile phone must
      not require a driver to touch or manipulate the phone
      in any way.
      All other functions including texting, video messaging,
      online chatting, reading preview messages and emailing
      are prohibited.
      The new laws make it clear that a driver in a moving or
      stationary vehicle (unless parked) MUST NOT HOLD a
      phone in his or her hand other than to pass the phone
      to a passenger.
      Penalty: 3 demerit points (4 in a school zone) and
      $298 ($397 in a school zone)
      NOTE: Learner and Provisional P1 drivers are not allowed to use ANY
      function of a phone (including hands-free) while driving.

      Visual display units in motor vehicles
      A visual display unit (including a mobile phone), which
      is being used as a driver’s aid function, such as a GPS,
      may only be used in a motor vehicle if it is secured in a
      fixed mounting. This mounting must be commercially
      designed and manufactured for this purpose. It must be
      positioned in the vehicle to not distract or obscure the
      driver’s view.
      Penalty: 3 demerit points (4 in a school zone) and
      $298 ($397 in a school zone)

        This reads - The only situation where you are allowed to touch the phone, is to make or receive a call while it is docked - If not docked, you cannot touch your phone unless passing it to someone else.

        You can USE your phone for visual reasons (GPS, HUD, Music etc...). So long as you rig it up before you put your car out of park. And you're not allowed to touch it again until you put your car back in park, unless you were making or receiving a call.

        It also means that as a P2 driver, I can now legally use my phone, whereas before P2 drivers were still completely restricted from the phone, even hands free.

          What about of you don't have park.... lol... (ie drive a manual....)

          Parked means, pulled over, handbrake on and engine off... Not pulled over on the side of the road with engine running and foot on the brake... That is classed as still driving.. (In control of the vehicle.).

            What if you're in free gear, handbrake on, engine running just to charge your phone? Are you then parked?

              If neither of you know how to park a manual car i fear you might have issues operating a car period.

              A parked manual car would work as follows. Pull over and come to a stop where it is safe to do so and does not imped traffic (common sense) and put the handbrake on (common sense). The car is now parked. If you are on a steep incline you could place the car in 1st gear and a step decline in reverse (as a further stop gap should the handbrake not hold, which if it isn't should be looked at). You could also place the car in neutral if you so wished.

              Basically how do you normally park your car sans turning the motor off. In fact this is a part of the test to get your P plates.. Its SUPER SIMPLE

    As much as I agree that these laws are required, and are indeed in their place, I think there is a lot of hypocrisy here. Think about it, a police officer (in his patrol unit) operates a hand-held 2-way radio whilst driving. How on earth can they even begin to suggest that this is different to holding/operating a mobile phone?

    The whole point behind it is that if you're in any way touching your phone, then you're diverting a portion of your attention to it, and thus you don't have 100% of your attention on your surroundings.

    Someone, please, tell me how they can justify a hand-held 2-way radio?

    Last edited 01/11/12 11:32 am

      They have significantly better driver training than a regular Joe...

        Honestly, I'd pay for this training to get this luxury :)

        Actually the General Duty (GD) Police don't have any other professional driving training, and some are still on their provisionals. Though they can apply to be trained in both offensive and defensive driving.

      "How on earth can they even begin to suggest that this is different to holding/operating a mobile phone?" Really? This needs to be explained to you? First up, the radio is in a fixed mount, just like your phone needs to be if you want to use it, so it is completely consistent here. Secondly, the handset/mic has a single, large, physical button that requires no effort of concentration to operate - no need to glance down to make sure you are holding it right or to find the right button. It is designed specifically so that it can be used without distracting the user from their main task, whereas a mobile phone is both tiny and fiddly, which makes it a potentially huge distraction. Thirdly, patrol cars have two occupants - one to drive the car and another to operate the comms equipment. Again, this is consistent with you being allowed to pass your phone to a passenger.

      I'd also point out that you, or anyone else, are just as legally allowed to use a two-way radio in your car so, again, there is no inconsistency here. You can even use a walkie-talkie legally if you want to, because they are also designed to be operated without distracting the operator. It is all pretty obvious, I'd have thought.

      Last edited 01/11/12 11:44 am

        But my phone has buttons that I can feel and operate without looking at or thinking about it, just like a walkie talkie. It should be fine :P

          Just because you are able to do something, means we can trust the rest of the idiots on the road to do the same thing? I don't think so buddy, no ones going to go for that exam.

            I'm with you on this but there is an exam. That's what the driver's license is for in the first place. Sad that even after some road education people still choose to do stupid things.

          That hardly covers all the bases, does it. e.g. You don't need to dial a number with a radio, just press a button to talk. It is a simple task that is not distracting at all. With a phone, you either need to scroll a list visually or punch a number in to make a call. Even if you have a feature phone with speed dial, that still requires you to find one button amongst a matrix of buttons, which is a distraction. There is simply no level on which the tasks are similar.

            MM don't use logic or rational thinking. That's just crazy dude. Most of these people seem like they are antiestablishment/antiauthority, and thusly hate any police officer or law. Except when they need it, then its different. But when it stops them from gossiping on their phone about the latest jersey shore episode! How dare this cops do that!!

            That's if I were to call though. Which I don't really do, and Receive is just a single button to pick up then a single button to hang up.

            Not that the matrix of buttons is a thing that has to be thought about - you're telling me you don't know where the 2 button is without looking?

              You're being told that you can't pay enough attention to the safe operation of a ton or so of steel traveling at speed, while you're busy "visualising" what buttons to use.
              Besides, it's not the answering or calling that's at issue here.
              It's the talking away while driving, and that includes incoming calls.
              You (in this case, anyone) are not special, you do not have magical abilities to do something that has been proven time and time again that people cannot do.

              As for two way radios, they're not used (generally at least) for dangerously distracting idle chit-chat.

                Actually I am a wizard.

                  AAAAhhh Sorry. I did not know that.
                  In that case, you could probably get away with anything you wanted to.
                  One question though..
                  Why do you need to drive? Still grounded at Hogwarts? :P

                Obv, you have never been on the CB......

                  Yes i have. Waaaay back in the late 70's when CB was all the rage.
                  The cops wanted those banned too for the same reasons this is happening now with phones etc.
                  There are no-where near as many people using CB these days.
                  The transport industry not withstanding.

                Your brain is less engaged in idle chit-chat. Communicating with someone to get a safe outcome in a dangerous situation should be more distracting by your logic. Why are you such a male chauvanist anyway? Females have a lot going in their mind at almost any given time. Do you call them dangerous drivers?

                If you have no capacity to have any form of idle chit-chat while driving then maybe you shouldn't be driving. Don't point your finger at others.

                  Chauvinist??? Seriously?

                  I can not understand your thought process to arrive at this point. The female brain is better at multi tasking, but the male brain is better at peripheral vision.

                  Its been scientifically proven that talking on a mobile phone takes more concentration vs a person in the same car. I myself have witnessed this with many motorists (in the same car and talking to them they didn't miss anything, vs talking on a hands free system their concentration was not as high)

                  But science and facts be damned.

                  Was replying to a MR Taco.
                  Where do get the chauvinist bit from?
                  Pretty sure I made no mention whatsoever about men or women and the differences therein.
                  YOUR brain may dis-engage during idle chatter, but that just proves my point. So thanks for that.

        What if i have a 2 way radio app on my phone?

          Why don't you invent it, use it, and tell us how court went?

      It's probably different because they did like 4+ years of training to be a cop including advanced driving courses, and would have been trained on how to use communications in a car. You haven't :P

        That must be why I see so many police driving the wrong way down the one way street near me to get McDonalds.

        Must have missed that one in advanced driver training.

        Not to mention the influx of very young and inexperience officers I've seen lately. I had to laugh the other night that I was stopped for a 'random breath test' (Stopping every single car on the road) to pass a line of what looked like ten 15 year olds, nervously running through the procedure with every car.

        I for one, feel safe.

        WA police, like so many West Australians seem to be pretty awful drivers.

      There job needs them to radio in and respond to radio messages. Imagine if a call comes in, a shooting somewhere or other crime, cop radios in saying they are close and can attend. I don't think that's a big issue. Or they radio in because they see a car driving erratically/suspicious. They get a report back saying its stolen

      By using their 2 way radio they are doing the job. The very job that has been mandated by Government and its citizens. They are making the roads/place safer and possibly saving lives. I doubt the vast majority of road users are doing the same when they use their phone.

      Also police are given extra training to be able to drive a police car

      I'm more concerned about taxi drivers. They have to constantly fiddle with several systems while driving. I don't use them often but every time the car has swerved all over the road while he does that.

        come now.. we all know taxi drivers are very competent and follow all rules

      They covered this too:

      Police and emergency services vehicles
      Police and emergency service drivers may continue to
      use mobile data terminals in the course of their work to
      receive job allocations, licensing, registration and other
      important information.

      http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/usingroads/downloads/nsw_road_rules_2012.pdf

      Because comms is ALL you can do on a 2-way. And you don't need to think to use it, just pick up and talk. Mobile phones are not this easy to operate. you need to unlock, pick a contact, hit call; basically be majorly distracted. Plus cops are doing their job to protect you and me (believe it or not....) I am yet to see one talking on their mobile phone whilst driving.

      Civilians can also use 2-way radio.

      Well you don't need to look at the 2-way, for a start. Grab it and press the big-arse PTT button on the side. Let go when you're done. No having to look at a screen.

    If you get stopped, tell them to prove what they saw. Wheres the evidence? Even if you were on a call you can say you were handsfree. Unless they can prove you were using your phone in your hand, don't get intimidated.

      Unless there are two policemen, in which case you will be screwed. And any court is going to take a copper's word over yours anyway, unless you can provide evidence to show that he/she might have some reason to lie. And only an idiot would waste a day in court to save half-a-day's pay.

        Judges do not automatically take a policemans word over a citizen. Police are required to have evidence, and lose disputes quite often for lack of it.

          +1... Would be a very corrupt world if this wasn't the case.

            All they need for proof is a hand written report in their notebook. All you need to win is a lawyer that will cost you orders of magnitude more than the fine. So who really wins? Police very rarely lose disputes, which is why it so often gets reported when they do. Just think how many cases go through all the courts in the country every day. I'd be very surprised if even 1% went against the police so you'd really be rolling the dice if you took them on.

      Are you seriously suggesting to people to ignore the law and then say "i didn't do it" Bart Simpson style?

      The laws are the laws. They are the same for everyone. If your break the law, accept the punishment that goes with it. I'm sure if you had kids you would punish them if they did something wrong. What kind of example would that set. "Kids I'm breaking the law, but don't worry I won't get in trouble. When you get caught say you didn't do it, and that they have to prove it

        Laws are the same for everyone, including the parts that say if you are a police officer you can use gadgets in your car while speeding and tase people who disagree :)

          They use those gadgets only if it is for job/work related reasons. They are NOT ALLOWED to use these devices (like a phone) just so they can tweet or text. Grow up!

          They can only legally taser a person in certain circumstances. Also a taser does less damage then a bullet. Simple thing for people who get tased; DO NOT RUN FROM THE POLICE. IF YOU DO, YOUR GOING TO HAVE A BAD DAY!!!

          Why do so many people flaunt the laws, think its their right to do so and then complain when they are caught and prosecuted. Do the crime, do the time!!

            You clearly haven't had much to do with the police. Some are OK, but there are still plenty of violent, borderline sociopaths. Despite everything your scoutmaster told you, the police are not your friends. They get away with things no ordinary citizen can.

              My scoutmaster??? anyway

              I have had a few dealings with them. Never on the wrong side of the law! Actually about a month ago, was going to a mates place for some drinks and a BBQ. On the way there was an RBT about 300 meters after a round about. My car had been playing up, stalling when ever at idle. Upon exiting the roundabout my car decided to stall. I began to slow down and stop to restart (wouldn't restart in neutral). It looked VERY suspicious and a squad car saw me stopping and came down to investigate. He asked what was going on, saw i had a six pack of beer and a bottle of bourbon on my passenger seat (had only just left the bottle shop). He asked what was going on, i explained and he noticed i was missing a P plate on the front. He got me to do a breath test and drug test, passed both. They didn't issue a ticket for the P plate (had extras in my car so replaced on the spot) they didn't look over my car for defects (they were doing it to others) and allowed me to leave. In fact the officer who did the Drug test joked with me, complemented me on my choice of drink (Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey FTW) and said "Don't worry, in 5 minutes you can be laughing about this with your mates)

              Its just one example i admit. I have seen similar things happen. I find if your polite to them, they return the favour. Once had an issue with the P plate curfew, had 2 extra people under the age permitted. We were 40 minutes passed the curfew and the cops asked where we had been (went to a cafe in bankstown and met up with a few people we hadn't seen in a while) and where we were now going (back home, about 15 minutes from where they stopped us). We were polite to them, they warned us and said go straight home. Again could of booked us but didn't.

              All this in Campbelltown, a some what low socio-economic area that generally attracts problems. Both times with Macquarie Fields High way patrol cars.

              Sure there are bad police officers. There are bad apples in any Job, Industry, Race, Religion etc etc. I find its generally the minority who are bad.

      The easiest evidence, assuming you were making a call and not just playing with it would be to check your phone logs with the phone company for the times you made/received calls/texts.
      If they pulled you over at 3.25pm ... and you sent a text at 3.24pm ... well, that's that.

      So, lie? How nice for you, 'Power to the people'.

      A police officer does not require corroborating evidence, the fact that they have witnessed it is all that is required to issue the ticket. You can always try to take it to court, bearing in mind you'll pay a lot more than $298 to do so.

    All I do with my phone in the car is listen to music

    I pair it up to the car's inbuilt bluetooth before I leave the drive way, and I put the music player on random

    Yet because I am P1, does that meant I can't even do that?

    My brand new Kia Rio even has a special divet in the dash that pefectly fits my phone, and would perfectly fit any small black rectangle, it doesn't move, and it cannot really be seen by the eye

      Should be fine provided you don't adjust anything on the drive.

      Making a law to prevent that, would also mean it would have to stop all services running on your phone, there's no way to in differentiate between a running service on the phone such as a music player, and a running service on the phone such as OS background tasks.

    Cool so the law isn't totally retarded like I thought at first.

      Is partially retarded alright then? How do you measure okay?

    This of course has been law in Victoria for a couple of years now, but there wasn't a write up about it then. Why now? Sydney centric gizmodo at its best.

      It's news now, kr00 because a new law came into effect last night in one region of the country. Sure the post is spurred by that new law, but these are tips you can use all around the country.

        No it's not news. Your just apple lovers. Oh and apple haters. And android lovers, and windows phone haters. Now your NSW lovers.

        (Sarcasm)

          It's a good thing you added the bracketed sarcasm. I was about to fetch my insult pipe and settle in for a long session.

      It has always been illegal to use your mobile phone whilst driving in NSW, these new laws are just minor changes to spell it out more clearly.

    So I pull over to the side of the road to use my phone as I used to and I have to turn off the car and hence the air conditioner while my little daughter is sweltering in the car. Sounds like a great idea!?! Unless being parked doesn't require the engine to be off just the handbrake is fully engaged??

    Also is there a law that prevents me to pull over and write stuff down with a paper and pen as well?

    Last edited 01/11/12 11:59 am

      There is one law I really like!
      Signalling at a roundabout
      Drivers entering a roundabout and intending to turn
      either left or right, must give sufficient warning to other
      road users by signalling before entering the roundabout.
      The image below illustrates this.
      Previously a driver had to indicate only when entering
      the roundabout.
      When exiting a roundabout, whether turning left, right
      or even straight ahead, drivers must always indicate a
      left turn just before exiting, unless it is not practical to
      do so.
      Penalty: 2 demerit points and $165

        This was true when I first started driving in 2003. It's just that heaps of people don't follow it, because it wasn't always the law.

        Lulz new south welshmen need to learn how to roundabout properly :)

          What id you drive over the roundabout like a normal road like some buses?

        Has always been the case..... even a little before 2003... (like when roundabouts first came to this fair land....

        Signal left off a roundabout... (Unless sit is so tiny tou can't get to the indicator in time....)

        Supposed to signal right for every exit you intend to go past....

        I hate drivers who think they are going straight ahead on roundabouts that are 3-way and therefore don't signal at all...... no-one can tell if they are taking the first or second exit, because they are often both straight ahead. (back to phones..)

      I'm going to assume you are in NSW.

      In NSW the car can still be on, engine running, AC going. All you need to do is either park the car in a car park spot (logical) or pull over and park the car where it is safe to do so (side of the road etc). If its place it in park and/or apply the handbrake, the normal parking procedure. The engine can still be running.

      In other states they want the car off and even keys removed from ignition. Check your states road authority website for further details :)

        I am on the Gold Coast and I have clients in Northern NSW. So I am not there all the time. Still the inconsistency of the laws between states is horrendous. We already have to put up with a 5m walk to change time zones.

          Blame the Queensland govt for that. Daylight savings is a good idea unless you're a far north queensland farmer, in which case it probably wont really effect you anyway.

      You can keep the engine going, you're just have to keep it in park. If you don't know what it means to put a car in park, you shouldn't have your daughter in the car. Also, your Air Con should work for at least a little while with just your accessories on.

      To make it easier to understand. If you take your foot off the break, and your car tries to move forward (Or roll backwards) - You're not in park.

        Thanks for support. From the outside of the vehicle what is the difference from a police officer’s view of a car running with the handbrake on and the handbrake off? What’s not to stop someone pulled over not legally "parked" who sees a police offer approach and quickly pull up their handbrake to become "legally" parked? What was not explained in the brochure was their definition of parked. Some could argue that a car is not parked until the engine is off and the keys are out of the ignition.

        Also I have a manual. My car doesn't have a "parked" option like automatics. To sit with the engine idling on the side of the road regardless of the handbrake, one would need to be out of gear which we refer to as neutral. Now when parking a manual car one would actually leave it in gear. Especially on a hill with an incline in 1st and a downslope would be reverse as it’s an extra backup to your handbrake.

        Last edited 01/11/12 1:05 pm

          From the outside of the vehicle what's the difference between smoking a joint or a cigarette. (Harsh comparison I know)

          The term "parked" refers to the procedure you would use to safely come to a stop when pulling over to let someone in or out of the car. Or to quickly run inside the house to grab something whilst the car is still running. You obviously have been driving for some time, so you would know what's considered "parked" in a manual car better then myself (Red P plater). But my understanding of being "parked" in a manual is handbrake applied and in neutral (except maybe in some extreme cases where you are on a very steep incline and being in reverse or 1st might assist in preventing the car from rolling)

          The way I was taught is as follows

          "Parked" in this situation, refers to the car being in the same state as if it were to be turned off and left there. Except the engine can still be running in this case.

          Hope that helps. I'm not sure on QLD laws regarding this. I know Victoria law states the car has to be turned off completely.

          But honestly I doubt a cop would bother to much with someone talking on the phone whilst parked if the car was on or off or not parked perfectly. At least I wouldn't imagine they would.

            Might still be illegal you see. Regardless of safety

              http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/doingbusinesswithus/downloads/technicalmanuals/rpav2_i.pdf - Page 2 - Definitions: park, parking or parked – the driver stops a vehicle and allows the
              vehicle to stay (whether or not the driver leaves the vehicle).

              This means, that as long as the car isn't going to move regardless if your foot is on the break pedal or not, it's parked.

                So according to that wording my vehicle is "parked" when I am stopped at the lights. As I am allowing the vehicle to "stay" at least until I want to move again (when the light goes green).

                So my point of what exactly is the definition of parked is very true. Its not defined precisely even here as I bet if you were at the lights you will be booked for using your phone. I bet the clarification here then comes with what the definition of "stay" is.

                Edit: Also when I am stopped at lights that I know, I will actually put my car into Neutral to get my foot off the clutch and engage the handbrake. So my car is in the exact same state as if I was pulled over to the side of the road.

                Last edited 03/11/12 8:43 am

                  I'm sick of this conversation... Look it up yourself or just put up with the heat, I don't really care. I've linked to the RTA's website and explained enough already, you can look it up yourself. I'm not going to argue with someone who insists on parking their car at traffic lights, that's not how you drive.

        Matty... you have no idea obviously...

        Please tell me of one car which has an electric air conditioner compressor.... They run off the serpentine belt / accessories belt / fan-belt in every car I know of (sure there may be some new jobbies which have an electric AC, then it would run fine, until the battery goes flat....

          I just confirmed in my 2006 VE commodore, it's been off for 4 hours now. Just jumped in it, turned it straight to ACC (did not start the engine). AC is running... I obviously do know what I'm talking about, and yeah. Sorry, I wasn't talking about ALL cars but the point still stands. If your car has AC, there's no reason you can't pull over and use your phone with the AC running, your engine can still run if it has to because if your car is parked regardless of if the engine is running or not, your car is NOT ENGAGED to move, therefore it is impossible to be distracted, take too much pressure off the break and hit something in front of you.

            So your AC light comes on? So does my AC light but I can tell you its not actually actively cooling anything without the engine being on to power the compressor. As your comment was squared directly at me and my inability to drive my daughter around I think md's point is very valid as you were talking about my car. I have a MY09 Subaru Forester.

            Also when my key is set to ACC my check oil, check battery, check engine and traction control lights are all on too. But I doubt all those are fully engaged as well.

            Last edited 03/11/12 8:55 am

              The point still stands - Leave your cars engine running, it's perfectly legal and your daughter can keep cool... My parents never had AC in their cars when I was a kid, still alive. Perhaps the fan is just running in my car. Although I've had the car for years and I'm 95% sure it's running AC without the engine on. Electronic compressors aren't that new.

                Your point above doesn't stand as the definition itself that you provided is undefined, it just says the vehicle is at "stay". I don't park my car at a set of traffic lights, I am not a idiot, I also HIGHLY resent the fact you call me a bad parent. Your the one that personally attacked me. I live on the QLD/NSW border and as such in QLD there is also no clear definition of parked. Check the road legislation and it refers to being parked but yet there is no definition.

                My Mum works for an airport dealing with people with parking fines on the premises and she has yet to find a clear definition nor can the police officers she works with find a clear definition of parked. But the general consensus is here its engine off and keys out of the ignition to be parked.

                Finally your parents never had to pull over to answer a phone call and were still able to use open windows to cool the car. Something that unless there is a good breeze doesn't help much to a stationary car.

                  My parents didn't have mobiles... Instead, they used to wind the window down to smoke a ciggy with me in the back, then I used to have to wait for ages in the stinking hot car while dad was in the bank, or doing what ever... His old Kingwood had no Aircon, used to take trips in it from QLD to NSW South coast. I'm still alive... *Cough Cough*.. Your daughter is lucky she has a concerned parent with a decent car... But don't concern yourself too much with your phone.

                  Last edited 06/11/12 12:26 pm

                  Also, I apologize, I was wrong about my car... It's just the fan running, not the compressor... Fan still keeps you cool enough for a bit lol... Just limit your calls, is my only advice. No one would argue if you said "I'm sitting in a hot car with my daughter, can I call you back in 15?". Only an asshole boss would say no, if so, get a new job.

      You do not have to switch your engine off, just pull over to the kerb and apply your handbrake. It is much more lenient than with drink-driving, which you can get done for just by opening the driver's door (if you are drunk, of course).

    heaps of confusion around this new law, largely because news agencies haven't bothered to report it properly. download the pdf from the rta website and its pretty clear. you can use ur phone to talk/gps/music if its mounted properly. nothing else. if its not mounted, then u can use steering wheel controls to answer the calls but u can't physically touch the device unless handing the phone to someone else.

    seriously though....get a $20 mount. use it. its a lot harder for police to prove you were texting from a mounted device. u could have been changing tracks. i don't understand what the whinging is about. we asked for fair laws to come in play around smartphones and they have been delivered.

    on the note about police officers using a handhelds etc, what about the 1000s of people who light up a cigarette whilst driving? let me get this right - you holding on a lit object, that is way more distracting when accidentally dropped onto your lap then someone talking on a phone. what about when lighting up? I'm sure eyes are off the road. i would like to see a ban on smoking whilst driving. won't happen because too many people do it including older voters.

    Last edited 01/11/12 12:00 pm

      I'd like to see disruptive children being banned from vehicles.

      Your smoking point is very good. Lighting a smoke can be distracting, causing people to avert their attention by focusing on the cigarette in front of them (causes your depth of field to shorten dramatically)

      Changing tracks is illegal too. You're not allowed to touch your phone unless making or receiving calls if it's docked. If it's not docked, the only time you can touch your phone is to hand it to the passenger.

        u can change tracks if its docked.

          Not on your phone. Sadly rules say all other functions are not allowed. There are a lot of grey areas. Lucky for me, I change tracks on my steering wheel.

    "several studies have said that even talking on a hands-free system as you drive is just as distracting as touching and interacting with the device itself."

    This is the bit I don't get. How is it any different to conversing with your passengers? Though I guess it won't be too long before that gets banned too.

      Noone's really sure why it's more distracting, but experiments show it is. One theory is that the passengers are aware of what's happening in the car and consciously or unconciously avoid distracting the driver at critical moments.

        I remember once they showed a test on Today Tonight (yes, I know) where they put the person on the phone, handsfree, and read out mathematical equations that they had to solve.

        If that's what they all do, then I think it's silly. Mental maths takes a whole different and more focused type of thought than just talking normally.

    Mobile phone laws have failed already.. Whats the point in upgrading laws that can't be policed?

      Exactly.

      (Realises this law is difficult to police. Not that it can't be policed, its just difficult)

      (Now thinking of the many laws that are hard to police. Realising its a bad idea)

      Wrong!

        You forgot the part where they just give up on policing most other road rules and install more red light speed camera's.

    If something is voice activated it should get around the issue. California just pushed out a law to this effect. This certainly puts BlueAnt at the forefront.
    http://www.blueant.com.au/products/speakerphones/commute/

    Nice to see an Aussie company in front for a change.

    If the phone is mounted in a proper cradle, you CAN touch it to answer the call. Because being fixed, answering a call is no different then skipping a song or turning on cruise control. You're just not allowed to touch it in a non-fixed position-such as on your lap, or holding it-because it can potentially fall and distract the driver - It also stops people getting away with "I wasn't using it, it's just sitting on my lap" to get out of the fine, because it's damn obvious that if it's on your lap, you've been using it, the problem is, they couldn't prove it. Now just being on your lap is proof enough.

    Does anyone know how to get an SGS II to work "properly" with bluetooth? When I had my Nokia flip-phone it worked, almost like magic, with my in-car blue tooth system.. but when I got my SGSII it wouldn't take calls, make calls or respond to any voice commands even though it shows as being connected to the bluetooth in-car system. Does anyone else have this same problem and have a solution to it?

    What about the police officer from Rose Bay who used his iPhone whilst driving to take a photo of a Lambo. The official police twitter said he was reminded not to use his phone - where is my bloody reminder

    God help you if you touch your phone ! However, your still allowed to use the rear view mirror put on your makeup and fix your hair while having a bowl of cereal using a spoon on your commute.

      "However, your still allowed to use the rear view mirror put on your makeup and fix your hair while having a bowl of cereal using a spoon on your commute."
      I doubt it highly....

        This is all covered in reckless driving, you probably wouldn't get a charge from this unless a cop see's you not controlling the car properly, or you have an accident. Would be pretty hard to talk yourself out of it with cereal all up in your face.

      They can book you for this in the exact same way they book people for having crosses or fluffy dice hanging off their mirror.

    "Surely no email, text message or otherwise is worth $300 and possibly the lives of you, your passengers and even innocent bystanders, is it?"

    Truer words, Luke. Truer words.

    I admit I am sometimes silly when it comes to being distracted by my phone in the car. It's wrong of me, and perhaps getting pulled over and slapped with a fine for it would help me learn. I will, of course, try and make safety a habit instead. Cheaper and safer.

    Last edited 01/11/12 12:49 pm

      Apologies to everyone, but you can use the audio functions as well while docked, I overlooked that part.

      Don't call it will power. Call it a good habit. =) There are problems withe the term will power

        you're right. I usually hate the term willpower. Habit, definitely.

    Do whatever you want, just be smart when your stopped.

    Police need to be able to prove it, I got stopped yesterday and deleted the last call, he told he I'd be fined for using my phone while driving, I told him I simply wasn't using my phone at all, he told me he seen me and he is going to give me a fine.... now you guys need to remember 90% of the time they record this conversations as proof of the crime so as soon as you say "im sorry" or "please i wont do it again" then you've admitted to doing the wrong thing. I turned around and said "I dont know what you saw, but I havent used my phone whilst driving as that is against the law, please see here my last call was over 30mins ago, so its impossible i've been using my phone whilst driving" he then said "are you calling me a liar" I said "im not calling you anything, I just wasn't on my phone and I didnt see what you saw" He then told me "you can be warned this time but next time you'll be in trouble"

    I've done this once for a red light and once for speeding (they didn't have the speed gun out, but I was clearly speeding)

    They need proof, they usually can talk their way into making you somehow admit it, like if you say "I don't think the light was red" they will simply say, well I seen it, it was red, you need to be more careful. and bam they got you, but if you just say, no its was green, it was green it was 100% green and definitely not red there is not alot they can do.

      That's the trick. I know police will also knock on peoples doors to question them about incidents in the early hours of the morning, waking them up and catching them in a more suggestable state hoping for them to admit fault or be easily led into admitting fault.

      Can I use the same for drug offences? What about fun crime or committing robbing a store??

      You admit on here you broke the law. Why be a coward and escape punishment. What makes you above the law and superior to everyone else? Do you think you have a RIGHT to speed, run red lights (could be very dangerous and deadly) and talk on the phone. Why can you put other people's lives in danger (don't really care about your own, seeming you flaunt the laws and gloat about escaping a fitting law binding punishment) and think you are get off scot free.

      Err. You do know that call logs are kept OTHER than just on your phone right?
      The Police don't use YOUR phone's logs as evidence. They use the carriers logs. The ones you can't delete.
      As for the bull about running a red light? The only proof they need is their own eyesight.
      In a court of law, it's your word against theirs. Guess who's word carries any weight at all?

      Here's some advice for you.
      Turn the F....g phone off or, better yet stay the f..k off the road, you dangerous self serving idiot.

        If it comes down to your word against theirs in a court, then you should by all accounts have representation and any good solicitor will be able to remove the 'weight' of the police's unsubstantiated hearsay evidence quite easily. This is why we have 'red light' cameras, due process, contemporaneous notes via police notebooks, and video evidence via the police dash cams to use in either your defense or their proof.

        If you go to court and are not represented, unless you are confident and ofey enough to act in a pro se (self represented) capacity , and even then there's a old saying about that, then you shouldn't be taking the fine to court in the first place.

        The only way they are going to get service provider log data is with a warrant, the only way they are going to bother about getting a warrant is if it goes to court.

        You are right about what happens if it goes to court though.

        While he maybe an ass, you're serving yourself too from this comment.

      quite the turd, aren't you, Jeffery? Do you lie about everything? You obviously think it's quite funny.

    I've been using a cradle for a few month now and its the best. I can easily make and receive calls. And using siri is great for sending quick text replies

    As long as I can still use my phone for GPS and mobile hotspot, I don't give a crap.

    Can I still use my iPod touch/iPod/tablet as it is not a mobile phone? Are these devices covered under these laws?

      Why the hell do people like you need laws to tell you that, while driving, doing anything other than paying full attention to the job at hand is stupid and dangerous?
      Figure out what you want to listen to, (as well as go to the toilet), before you start the car and you won't have any problems regardless of what laws there are.
      Or simply pull over, do what you need to do, and head off again.

      If your need for a change of tunes, or to have-a-chat outweighs your sense of responsibility to other road users, get the hell off the road.

      Priorities kiddies.

        So its stupid and dangerous for a computer to read out directions, but okay if a passenger reads them out?

        You really have something against idle chit-chat do you? Very few have such a low mental capacity. You're such a male chauvanist. Females can have a lot of things going on in their mind at any given time. Idle chit-chat would be one of the least.

        What car do you drive anyway? Either the dashboard controls in your (could be crappy) car be crappy or you just find it a life or death situation to press on the next track button on your steering.

          Making quite the leap to call someone a chauvinist when they have not even mentioned the female gender. Even contextually, their comment was void of reference.

          I could make obtuse statements about you. But that wouldn't really show a high intellect now would it. It's better to act civilised and defend your argument with logical, intelligent facts and evidence.

          Statistics prove that texting, emailing, having to physically pick up/hold the phone all lower a drivers attention. Additionally it is proven talking on the phone is more distracting to a driver (hands free in this case) then a passenger. The scientists are uncertain why at present. These are all facts!

          I ride a motorbike.
          Yes, I have something against idle chit chat (on the phone, remember the point of this article?) from someone who is supposed to be paying attention to, you know, driving.

          Also, once again, where have I said anything at all that points to either sex as being better or worse?
          No, seriously, please show me exactly what words I used that have sent you off on this rambling rubbish about chauvinism.

    So a P-plater cannot use a mobile phone for GPS even if mounted So..can they use an iPod touch?

      See reply to Johnny above.

        Just to clarify, you're aware that an iPod could be reading out GPS directions, not just playing music?

          If the GPS is reading out instructions, then it's irrelevant here.
          This is about messing about with them while you're driving.
          Set it before you head out and no issue.

          Also, does an iPod touch actually have GPS? ( no sarcasm here, I really didn't think they did, but no biggie if they do, my point still stands)

    Here's what shits me.

    A pillar boost gauge is defect/illegal even though it is a perfect fit replacement to a stock pillar.
    For those that don't know what I'm talking about; in a turbo car it is a common upgrade to replace the pillar next to your steering wheel that has a gauge showing how much work the turbo is doing.
    The excuse for this being illegal is that "in an accident this might dislodge, I've seen blokes with these things in their necks". Oh please. Anything in a car can dislodge and end up in my neck.

    Yet it is legal to "end user" mount a device to the windscreen. What happens in an accident when the windscreen is smashed? Pressure on the cup mount is lost and that GPS/Phone goes flying and ends up in someones neck.

    If anything, the pillar gauge is more secured in the sense that it is part of the car. It fits exactly where the factory one goes. It only has a little built in needle that reflects turbo psi.
    I've seen some people mount the GPS right behind the steering wheel, partially blocking vision in front of them. That will go right in their face in an accident before a boost gauge on the pillar does.

    Like many other young kids I wanted to be a policeman so I could serve and protect. So I could investigate real crimes and all that.

    Now that I've grown up and years have passed, the Police Force is just a business that requires an income. They are not there to serve and protect. I've called the police three times for assistance and all three times they did not come til MANY hours later. 3 hours once, 4 hours the other, and another time they didn't show up at all.

    One of the times I was in Brunswick st, Fortitude Valley. 300m from the police station. That was the time they took 4 hours to come.

    I realise this turned into a bit of a police rant. But people need to realise that police and civilians are not on the same team. It is them vs you. You are always the criminal. You are always last on their list when it is time to help, and you are always first on their list when they need to meet their $$$ quota of fines in a day.

    Remember that.

      my fathers a retired copper, hes been out of the force for just over a year now.. i remember ages ago he came home from his shift, I asked him how was his day. He told me the whole day, said it was like any other day, shit. Said for 3 hours he was catching up on paperwork, 2 hours he was stuck in a domestic violence case, one of the parents got caught hitting their kids (not smacking, brutally hitting), then the parent attempted a go at my dad, new laws were created as to how you can handle people, no more giving them a quick lesson with the stick because they tried to punch a cop, after thats sorted then he had to assist with a car accident, told me how much it wasnt pretty. He had to go to the house of whoever was involved in the accident and tell them some bad news. Sat down for more paper work, he gets a call to another domestic on the other side of town. He finally gets home and after telling me about his day, we start to have dinner, which the phone rang. He wasn't on call but he got called to assist.. he was tired, hungry, and just wanted some peace and quiet.. last time I ever asked him how his day was.. Iv only spent xmas with him 5 times. Thanks to people with domestic violence issues that cant sort it out like civil human beings, drug overdoses and drink driving.. all i wanted was spend some decent time with him.. now that hes retired.. we can finally catch up on everything we have both missed in our lives..

      if the police take their time to get to a job, its because there's not enough of them. Go join the academy.. I'm sure you will have the time of your life..

    I don't see what the big deal is...
    VIC has had these laws for a couple of years now.
    Except here (AFAIK) we aren't allowed to touch the device at all. Even if it is in a cradle or mount.
    People bitch and moan about it, but the reason is simple. It's all bout being able to enfoce the law.
    It's a pain in the ass to prove if someone was answering a call or skipping a track.
    That's why, here it's simple. You touch it while out of park, you get done. No grounds for argument.
    As silly as the wording is, it actually simplifies the law.
    Dont touch your phone (or other display device), period. Bluetooth and hands free is fine.

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