By simply touching a mobile phone while driving you risk heavy penalties from next week. The new laws, which come into effect on November 1 are part of the 2012 NSW Road Rules changes. Any driver with a mobile phone not completely hands free or fixed to the car will be penalised.
For making a call or texting, fines are $298 with a loss of three demerit points and $397 with four demerit points lost if you are caught in a school zone.
Reasons for the changes include studies that have found use of a mobile phone while driving is dangerous as it slows reaction times, interferes with a driver’s perception skills and increases the chance of having a crash. A recent survey of 1600 drivers aged 20-29 found 36% of them read text messages while driving.
However Centre for Road Safety spokesperson said there were “no definite numbers for fatalities relating to mobile use”.
There was a “cock-up” on the Transport For NSW website page that explains the November 1 legislation changes. The page showed a cartoon picture of cars driving on the wrong side of the road. Transport for NSW has since corrected the illustration. – Eddie Mills
Top photo: Driver using mobile phone while driving Photo by Eddie Mills.