Recently, the Victoria Police conducted a poll on Facebook, asking voters “When using a fast-food outlet’s drive-through service, can I use my phone to pay?”
A whopping 65% of the voters said ‘Yes, it was acceptable to do so.’ Victoria Police later responded, revealing that it was illegal for motorists to use their phones to pay at a drive-through. No wonder there’s been an increase in the number of motorists Contesting Traffic Offenses and hiring lawyers to plead their case.
The Victoria Police’s response has sparked a debate, with many NSW residents wondering if the same rules applied to them as well. A Transport NSW spokesperson has been quick to respond, stating that drive-throughs and car parks are considered road-related areas and so mobile phone rules apply to them.
Penalties in Different States
If caught using your phone to pay at a drive-thru, you could incur the following fine and demerit points (depending on which state you’re in):
- NSW: $344 fine and 5 demerit points
- Victoria: $484 fine and 4 demerit points
- Queensland: $400 fine and 3 demerit points
- Tasmania: $336 fine and 3 demerit points
- South Australia: $534 fine and 3 demerit points
- Western Australia: $400 fine and 3 demerit points
- Northern Territory: $500 and 3 demerit points
- ACT: $470 and 3 demerit points
Using Your Phone While Driving – What the Law States
Laws regarding the usage of mobile phone while driving is similar across states in Australia. Here are some general rules and regulations to keep in mind regarding using your phone while driving.
- Using your phone as a GPS is permissible – as long as it is securely mounted.
- Holding your phone in your hand (even if you’re not using it) can incur a fine. As long as your engine is still on, do not touch your phone.
- If you need to make a payment using your phone in a drive-thru, put your car in ‘park’ and switch off the engine before doing so.
- A lesser-known rule states that “driving a vehicle with TV/VDU image likely to distract the driver” can incur a fine of $337. This means if the passenger in the front seat is using the video-call function on their phone, there’s a chance that the driver will be fined for the offence.
When it comes to mobile phone and driving, some of the laws in place are pretty obscure. Your safest bet is to avoid using your mobile phone altogether when you’re in your car, unless you’ve switched off the engine, putting the “vehicle in a condition in which it is not able to move by itself.”
Looking to contest a traffic offence, drink driving or drug driving charge? Contact Platinum Lawyers on (02) 8084 2764.