November 1st 2012 saw the introduction of new phone mobile rules, where if your car is moving or stationary, you cannot utilise your phone in any way. This includes phone calls and texting obviously, but also includes playing music or having your phone switched on and in your lap. The only way around these rules is to have your phone fully mounted, and even then only phone calls, GPS and music are legal.
Since the introduction of the new rules, NSW police have booked 780 drivers in 11 days, each booking attracting a $298 fine and three demerit points, or a $397 fine and four demerit points if the driver is in a school zone.
In Victoria, similar rules apply. It is illegal to use your mobile phone in any way unless it is mounted. Victoria police however, have taken this one step further by suggesting that it should be illegal to have your phone switched on at all while driving, causing fierce public debate. The call comes after 55,222 drivers were booked for using their mobile phones while driving last year, including a growing number of P-Plate and learner drivers. At the current time, this law seems unlikely to come into effect.
There is no word at the moment if QLD police will be following the mobile phone laws outlined by the NSW police. However, a zero tolerance for mobile phone usage still applies in QLD, with drivers facing fines of up to $330 and the loss of three points if caught with a phone to their ear or writing a text message. Last financial year, there were 30,780 drivers in QLD fined for this offence, including 76 cyclists.