Innovation

Avoid mobile phone fines while driving: How to play it safe

Helen Alexander /

Fines have shot up for using a mobile phone while driving, but there are a lot of myths surrounding the ubiquitous devices.

When is the right time, and what is the right way to make a business deal on the phone when driving from A to B?

Here are the basics every busy businessperson needs to know.

Firstly, laws before Victorian State Parliament aim to increase fines to $411 for an offence with four demerit points. In New South Wales, the penalty is $298 and three demerits. In Queensland the penalty is three demerits and a $300 fine. In most cases P-platers are banned entirely from using their phones at the wheel.

Hefty fines, but here are the reasons as outlined by VicRoads: in three key ways using a mobile phone is equally dangerous.

Using a phone is physically distracting; it takes hands off the car’s controls and it’s also visually distracting and speaking to someone while driving has been linked to poor decision-making.

But there are legal ways to use the phone:

  • Get a holder; the law says you can use your phone as a GPS, an audio player or for hands-free talking if it’s in a car-mounted holder and you do not touch it.
  • No text; it’s a given. Texting or email takes hands and eyes off the road.
  • Park; pulling over and flipping the car into park or neutral with the handbrake on will mean you can be distracted and otherwise occupied without endangering yourself or others. This doesn’t mean you can use your phone while stopped at the lights, that’s still illegal.
  • Cue up, look up, go; while parked, look up your next address or cue up your music then get moving, because simply touching your phone could land you with a fine and demerits.

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