Distraction & Seatbelt Cameras Go Live

New anywhere, anytime high-tech cameras catching distracted dangerous drivers and drivers without seat belts went live as of Monday 1 November. Cameras armed with artificial intelligence (AI) software will  be watching 24/7 across the state, zeroing in on your seatbelt and checking if you’re using a mobile phone.

It is illegal to hold a mobile phone in your hand or have it resting on any part of your body, such as your lap, when driving. This applies even if you’re stopped in traffic.  The phone does not need to be turned on or in use for it to be an offence.

While you can’t hold a phone when driving, you can hold a phone when safely stopped to:

  • pay for goods and services, for example at a drive through
  • gain access to or from a road-related area, such as a car park
  • present a digital driver licence or other document to police when asked
  • get a card or money out of a phone wallet for the previous listed purposes.

You can also use your phone when safely parked. Parked means stopped with the intention of staying at that place.

If you’re an open or P2 licence holder, you are also allowed to touch your mobile phone for hands-free use if, for example, the phone is in a cradle attached to the vehicle. Hands-free use can include:

  • accepting a call
  • using navigation apps
  • skipping a song
  • accepting/ending a trip as a rideshare driver.

The position of your mobile phone must not obscure the driver’s view of the road.

Open and P2 licence holders can also use a phone hands-free if it’s in a pocket of your clothing or a pouch you’re wearing. However, you must not touch or look at the phone. It can only be operated using your voice.

Learner and P1 drivers under 25 must not use hands-free, wireless headsets or a mobile phone’s loudspeaker function. If your phone is in a pocket of your clothing or a pouch you’re wearing, you must not use it in any way. This includes touching it, looking at it or operating it with your voice.

Passengers of learner and P1 provisional drivers are also banned from using a mobile phone’s loudspeaker function.

Illegal use of your phone behind the wheel and you’ll face a $1033 fine and 4 demerit points.

Double demerit points apply for second or subsequent mobile phone offences committed within 1 year after an earlier offence.

Hands-free use of a mobile phone can attract fines and demerit points for open and P2 licence holders, if the driver isn’t in proper control of the vehicle or drives without due care and attention.

These mobile phone rules do not apply to CB radios or any other two-way radios.

Drivers and passengers aged 16 years or older may be fined for not wearing a seatbelt or incorrectly wearing a seatbelt. A driver may be fined for each unrestrained or incorrectly restrained passenger in the vehicle. Fines of $413 and 3 demerit points apply for not wearing a seatbelt and for incorrectly fastened and adjusted seatbelts (for example a seatbelt worn under the arm).

Double demerit points apply for second or subsequent seatbelt or child restraint offences committed within 1 year after an earlier offence.

Exemptions from the seatbelt rules apply in very limited circumstances.

Some drivers are also exempt from the requirement to ensure their passengers are wearing a seatbelt in certain circumstances.

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