Dear NSW drivers — the mere act of fondling your smartphone while behind the wheel could cost you $298 and three demerit points, according to a new road rules document from the Roads and Traffic Authority.
The document, available from the RTA's website (and apparently FROM THE FUTURE*), details a number of revisions to NSW's street regulations, though it's the mobile phone one that demands attention.
The new law states that the driver of a vehicle with its engine running (that is, not parked) cannot use a phone unless its mounted and fixed securely, or the use does not the driver to touch the device.
"All other functions including texting, video messaging, online chatting, reading preview messages and emailing are prohibited," it goes on to say. You can however touch the phone if you're passing it to someone else.
If caught, a driver can be fined $298 and three demerit points, or $397 and four points if in a school zone.
Victoria already has a similar law in place, so I doubt anyone down here will be shedding any tears for their more northern brethren.
Oh, and if you're a pet-loving bike rider, don't think you've off the hook. Carrying an animal in a position that would "interfere with the rider's ability to control the motor bike" could cost you $397 and three demerit points, or $496 and four points in a school zone.
So no more Sunday afternoon rides with Fluffy/Spike/whatever you call your pet terrapin.
* The documet is dated November 1 and damn it, I want to believe!