Using your mobile phone while driving over the Australia Day period will see you come close to losing your licence.
Mobile phone use is one of the four categories of offences that attract double demerit points – in place until midnight on January 26.
“The NSW Government is committed to reducing mobile phone-related crashes on our roads,” said acting executive director for the Centre for Road Safety Hassan Raisianzadeh.
“We know that the threat of loss of licence from demerit points is a strong deterrent for unsafe driving behaviour which is why the government has recently introduced an additional demerit point for mobile phone offences.”
This year the demerit points for phone use have increased from three to four.
With double demerits, you could accrue eight of the 13 points that will cost you your licence in one hit.
If you’re a learner or P1 driver, that’s your licence gone for three months.
So it’s perhaps helpful to understand the rules governing mobile phone use in cars.
Those with learner or P1 licences cannot use a mobile phone while driving at all.
For other licence holders, you can use your phone to make or answer a call only if it is in a fixed cradle or can be operated without having to touch any part of the phone – such as via Bluetooth.
If using Bluetooth or voice activation, you can have your phone in your pocket and use it – as long as you don’t touch it.
You can also use it to play music or as a navigation aid, providing it is in a cradle.
Basically, if you have to touch your phone to use it – unless it is in a cradle - then you’re breaking the law.
Other uses, such as text messaging, emailing or taking photos, are illegal under any circumstances.
You can answer a phone after you have pulled over but the car needs to be in park and out of the line of traffic.
While they do not attract double demerits, there are also restrictions covering the use of devices like iPads.
An iPad is classed as a visual display unit, so drivers cannot use them while the vehicle is moving if any part of the screen is visible to the driver from the normal driving position, or likely to distract another driver.