Dear Lifehacker, A follow up to your recent item on driving rules in NSW and Victoria. I was recently booked by the police for talking on my mobile phone in a Qld shopping centre carpark. Fair enough if I was on a public road, but this is private property. This seems a bit harsh to me. What do you think? Thanks, Private Driver
Picture: Mr Wabu Dear PD,
I'm duty bound to point out that I didn't so much flunk out of my law degree as never actually apply for a law degree in the first place. I'm not a lawyer, in other words, but if I'm being really frank, I don't have that much sympathy for your position if the car was in any way in motion, or likely to be. It's not clear from your query if the car was totally stopped, but from your description it sounds like it wasn't. I'm also assuming you weren't using a hands-free speaker of some sort.
Which means your car is moving, there are other cars around which are either moving or are likely to be, and there are pedestrians both big and small, all of whom assume that the driver is doing what the driver should be doing: paying attention to the road, whether private or public.
If you are yapping on your phone instead, you're a potential danger to everyone else around you. Would you expect your insurance company to fail to pay up on a comprehensive policy if you did crash into something unexpected because you were on a "private" road? I doubt it. It's also equally unlikely that the shopping centre car park had any kind of signage up that suggested that normal road rules didn't apply; that would be a liability lawsuit waiting to happen, not to mention markedly insane.
Or in other words, suck up the fine and go and buy a Bluetooth speaker; the chances are high your handset has Bluetooth, and as such, you're legally allowed to speak on your phone that way, while keeping everyone else around you safe.
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