From September 2018, just touching your phone while you’re driving could be enough for NSW drivers to lose their license. The number of demerit points for using a phone while driving is set to increase from four to five this year, so drivers should probably brush up on the rules around phone use while driving now.
With the increased demerit points on texting and driving (or doing anything on your phone and driving), offenders are likely to be hit even harder, especially in the event of doubt demerit weekends. The RMS is finding new ways to catch out mobile phone users too, with a world-first camera system on the way to identify offenders.
In case you forgot, here are the rules around using your phone while driving:
If you’re a learner or a P-plater, you’re not allowed to use your phone at all while driving – this includes listening to music, GPS navigation and anything else that uses your phone in any way. Yes it sucks, but you’ll have to take that up with the police when they pull you over.
If you have your full licence, you’re allowed to use your phone to answer of make a call, to play music and for GPS navigation and other driver’s aids. Notably, however, these are only legal if you can do them without touching any part of the phone, and if the phone is in a cradle and not obscuring your view. Everything else is illegal – even if you can do it without touching your phone, like dictating a text.
You’re not allowed to touch or hold your phone at any time, including having it in your lap. The only exception to this is if you’re handing the phone to a passenger.
If you want to do anything on your phone that’s illegal, your car must be parked out of the line of traffic.
If that wasn’t enough, there will also be tougher restrictions on driving under the influence of drugs, including prescription drugs. Doctors will be encouraged to report patients if they are likely to experience impairment due to prescription drugs.