Almost everyone is guilty of using their mobile phone while driving. Now that so many of us rely on mobile technology, keeping your eyes off your phone for even a few minutes can be challenging. The next time you’re tempted to answer a call, reply to a message or check Facebook while driving, remember what’s at stake – together with significant penalties, using your mobile phone behind the wheel could put you and other road users at risk.

Can I use my mobile phone while driving?

In most circumstances, no. Every state and territory in Australia enforces strict laws relating to motorists’ use of mobile phones. Even if your car has come to a standstill in heavy traffic, using any of the functions on your phone is usually considered an offence.

There are some exemptions to this law, but they come with strict conditions. For example, Open licence holders can utilise hands-free and wireless headset technology to make phone calls while driving (in Queensland, Learner and P1 provisional drivers under the age of 25 are excluded from this exemption).

It’s also permissible for phone users to operate their mobile as a visual display unit for navigation purposes, but only if the phone is secured to a mounting device. Drivers of emergency vehicles can also use mobile devices in special circumstances.

Outside of these exemptions, operating a vehicle and using your mobile phone at the same time is illegal. Doing any of the following while driving could put you at risk of being issued with a traffic infringement:

  • Holding your phone up to your ear
  • Writing, reading or responding in any way to a message
  • Taking phone calls (including calls on speaker phone)
  • Using any other function on your phone.

Keeping your phone in your bag, glove box or another hard-to-reach location during car trip means you won’t be so tempted to do any of the above.

Why is it dangerous to use a mobile phone while driving?

The greatest danger of using your mobile phone while driving is visual distraction. Whether you’re making a call, sending a message or looking at social media, it’s impossible to handle a mobile phone without taking your eyes off the road for at least a few seconds.

Even a minor lapse in concentration can have devastating consequences on the road, so using a mobile phone while driving inevitably increases your chances of being involved in an accident. This is why the penalties for using a mobile phone while driving are so severe.

Penalties for using a mobile phone while driving

In Queensland, the fine for using a mobile phone while driving currently stands at $376 dollars. Motorists also face having 3 demerit points recorded against their traffic history. Double demerit points apply to motorists who get caught using their mobile phone more than once during a 12-month period. Other aspects of your traffic history may also influence the severity of your penalty.

If you’ve been issued with a traffic infringement notice for using a mobile phone while driving and think you may be at risk of losing your licence or being issued with a heavy fine, GC Traffic Lawyers can provide you with expert legal counsel. To find out your rights, contact our team today.