Reminder: NSW's GPS Phone Ban For P-Platers Starts Next Week

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From December 1, it will be against the law for provisional licence holders in NSW to use their phones in any way while driving. This includes using voice-activated GPS apps while the phone is secured to a hands-free cradle. No, really. Here are the details.

New drivers are statistically eight times more likely to have a car accident than full licence holders. The state government is hoping to reduce this number via a blanket ban on phone use for all P platers. Here's the change as explained on the Transport NSW website:

From 1 December 2016, P2 licence holders will no longer be permitted to use a mobile phone at all while driving or riding. P2 licence holders will have the same restrictions as learner and P1 licence holders.

...These laws encourage learner and P1 drivers and riders to concentrate on developing their vehicle control and hazard-perception skills. Mobile phone use can distract novice drivers and riders from the driving task.

In addition to the above, from 22 January 2016, learner and P1 drivers caught using a mobile phone will receive four demerit points - which exceeds their demerit point threshold. In other words, they will face a three-month licence suspension on the very first offence.

As we've said in the past, banning P platers from using GPS phones makes sense in theory - a phone is a dangerous diversion even when placed in a hands-free cradle.

On the other hand, GPS phones allow inexperienced drivers to devote their full attention to their vehicle and the traffic around them. Take it away, and they will need to focus more attention on road signs, street names and turnoffs - which can make them nervous and unpredictable drivers.

On the plus side, P platers can continue to use dedicated GPS units which are not banned under the new rules. We're sure Navman, TomTom and the like are quite pleased. Skint P platers, on the other hand, may need to revise their Christmas list.


Comments

    It's a conspiracy by Big Maps to get back into the game!

    Seriously, I remember the number of red lights I went through on my P plates while looking at the map trying to figure out where my next turn was.

      I'm sorry but that's 100% on you. For 80% of the time I've been driving there was no such thing as sat-nav, let alone smartphones. You just got into the habit of memorising your route before you left or pulling over and consulting the UBD if you got lost or forgot a turn.

      My car has sat-nav but I only use it to estimate travel times. It comes in handy when I drive to Melbourne but for 360 days of the year I just dont' need it, because I have always had to rely on myself to know where to go. People who rely on their phone or sat-nav will never learn their way around. It's like being a passenger - someone can drive me sonwhere ten times and I'll never remember the route but if I drive it once myself, I'll be able to do it again and again.

        That's nice. Personally I'll continue to enjoy having GPS tell me when a road is congested due to a possible accident or something else, allowing me to cut significant time from my travel. I do ignore a lot of the directions though, as the GPS will always prioritise certain types of roads and avoid suburbs if possible, which is often a slower way to get somewhere.

        Well good for you , "old timer", for having such a golden-memory.

        And congratulations on being so wonderfully self-reliant.

        I don't have such golden-memory .
        I cannot internalize a complete map with every turn-off before setting out on any journey.

        I'm afraid I occasionally need to check a map at a stoplight.
        I've just been fined for this.
        The regulations are completely overzealous , and just a money-grab now.
        I put the phone out of my hands and across from me before I proceeded to drive when the light went green.

        I do have a street directory too, which I bought used.... But, to buy new, those things cost heaps !
        No way would I buy new one.
        Also, if you haven't heard, the generation after me are mostly not raised on paper books.
        "Sad", sort of . But it's just how it is.
        People have a bit of a technology addiction.

        Also, I think your distinction between a map on a phone, and your paper street directory, and this relationship to memorizing the route which you imply, is completely bogus.

        Used the map on my phone plenty of times for routes I end up remembering.

        (Just to be clear, I agree totally that doing phone stuff while DRIVING is terrible and should receive fines / loss of points etc.
        Obviously, that is dangerous. I don't think anybody would argue that. But while at a standstill ? )

        Last edited 10/01/17 8:28 am

      Why were you reading a map while driving?
      Seriously, why?
      This is what the are trying to stop, stupid behavior and you have just highlighted why they need to act.
      As it is most drones using a GPS suddenly swerve across three lanes to make a turn because they aren't paying attention. The NHTSA advsie that more than 25% of fatalities are due to stu.... er inattention so pay attention and if needs be, pull off the road to use your things.....

    Im actually please to hear this. (but enforcing is a different story)

    On the other hand, GPS phones allow inexperienced drivers to devote their full attention to their vehicle and the traffic around them. Take it away, and they will need to focus more attention on road signs, street names and turnoffs - which can make them nervous and unpredictable drivers.

    But id have to strongly disagree with this quote as id much rather have an inexperienced driver devoting their attention to whats in front of their car than having notifications going off in front of them that they all seem to make it their lifes mission to respond while driving.
    Dedicated GPS, yes good to use. Multi media device that displays maps, not good to use

    Because "OK Google/hey Siri, navigate to x" is so much more dangerous than fumbling around while mashing the crappy capacitive screen to type an address... I understand that kids are using their phones for more than GPS and it's becoming dangerous, but at least ban all electronic devices. I see at least one kid a week in a shitbox car that's using an iPod for music.

    Last edited 25/11/16 4:07 pm

      You know you can enter an address before you start driving?

        Yea but kids don't seem to understand that

    Would like to know the cops' thoughts on this? Are they going to bother pulling P-Platers over to check the black box mounted to the windscreen has phone capabilities?

      Well they've already been doing this with P1 drivers for several years (with a heavy increase in the past year since they bumped up the demerit penalty), so I'm sure they will continue to do the same with P2 drivers once the law comes into effect.

    I am curious what built-in Android Auto and Apple Car Play are categorised as.
    What if i mute all notifications? block calls when driving? does this qualify as a 'GPS' only?

      I would assume they fall in the same category as GPS or other built in entertainment units.

    When I first moved to Sydney 30 years ago I spent the first 6 months driving around with the UBD on my lap or on the steering wheel. Probably much less safe than "Ok Google, navigate to ..."

    So in other words. Transport NSW would rather P platers physicly interact with a dedicated GPS, Than just use voice directions on a smart phone. K

    NSW just went full retard, Never go full retard

    Really feel sorry for all you living in NSW, Mike Baird it a legitimate mental case.

    Last edited 25/11/16 11:55 pm

      They'd prefer you set the destination before starting the trip I imagine.

    Absolutely agree with this. Much better to miss a few turns here and there, if it means concentrating on the actual task of driving.

    Navigation is a secondary task which can be learned later once you are more experienced and confident.

      So why are dedicated GPS devices not banned then? They require the same, If not more interaction than a Smartphone GPS App.

    Enforcement will be tricky. You can use maps with voice controls and directions and have it paired to the audio system. Keep the phone in the glovebox. No one will know you are using it.

    Last edited 26/11/16 3:20 pm

      You understand no GPS device, including a smartphone, actually works properly if it can't see the sky, right?

        I understand my iPhone's mapping works just fine when it's in the glovebox. Radio signals can penetrate a certain amount of plastic and metal I guess.

    Is it against the law for a P plater to have an open UBD street directory on their lap and look down at it every half minute?

    NSW think turning L platers into literal road hazards driving 20kmph under the speed limit is a great idea too, they definitely have some strange ideas.

      On fast roads there are usually multiple lanes. The L plater, being as he/she is not overtaking, should be out of the way in the left-most lane.

        I'm guessing you haven't spent a lot of time in regional NSW on the many 100kmph single lane highways with long stretches of twisty double line...

        Really, if it wasn't a crap idea in the first place, why did they finally raise it from 80 to 90?

    Anyone using a phone while driving should have their car crushed.

      So should anyone talking to their passengers or changing a setting on their stereo then.

    I have been handed an infringement notice from some stupid bastard cop (I believe he said he was a senior constable, too) for sitting at a standstill at the lights , my foot on the brake, looking at the MAPS on my phone.
    I am an experienced driver (13 years), no accidents. Very good driving history.
    I'll be taking it to court.
    I would urge all people should take such ridiculous matters to court.
    I've taken about 7 or 8 different driving matters to court , where I was certain they were ridiculous, and lost one case.
    Congest the court rooms with this crap, or else the state will just keep pumping out these bogus penalties.
    Police officers such as the one I encountered are just reprehensible. They are thieving robots collecting money for the state, IMO. They get no respect from me when they can't use their own judgement and discretion, and just behave like money-collection drones.

    Just to be clear, I agree totally that doing phone stuff while DRIVING is terrible and should receive fines / loss of points etc.
    Obviously, that is dangerous.
    .....But not while parked in traffic at a complete standstill, checking a map, to make sure of a turn.
    I don't have the golden-memory of some people in these comments.
    I cannot internalize a complete map with every turn-off before setting out on any journey.
    I'm afraid I occasionally need to check a map at a stoplight.

    Last edited 10/01/17 7:57 am

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