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Don’t Be Stupid With Your Smartphone

Using a mobile device to talk or text while driving is illegal, and you will face heavy penalties if charged!

Whether you’re driving, sitting at the traffic lights or stuck in a traffic jam, using a handheld phone to send a quick message or perhaps even pass the time, might be tempting, but it’s still illegal.

If you’re a driver in control of a vehicle, and the engine is running while using a hand-held phone, it’s illegal. All drivers caught using any mobile device that isn’t mounted properly, whether it’s a phone, tablet or smartwatch, face tough penalties in Australia.

In South Australia, if you’re caught driving a vehicle and using any mobile device that isn’t mounted properly, you can face serious fines and loss of demerit points. Learner drivers and P1 drivers are banned from using any mobile device while driving, whether it’s hands-free or not.

This ban includes:

  • Using your device in hands-free mode, including the use of Bluetooth technology
  • Using a device with loud-speaker operation
  • Text messaging

Why are road authorities so tough on driving while using a mobile device? Using anything that requires your attention by holding, or using a touch screen, is a distraction. When you take your eyes off the road for as little as 2 seconds, this increases your risk of an accident by more than double.

If you have a full driver’s license, the use of a mobile device is only permitted if the device is fitted to an approved, commercially-made mount that is appropriately fixed to the vehicle. The phone must not be held by the driver, and the driver mustn’t touch the body, or screen of the device unless it’s correctly mounted.

The law in South Australia states that the “Use” of a mobile device while driving includes:

  • When you hold a mobile device to, or near the face, whether you’re making a call or not
  • Writing, sending or looking at a text or video message on the phone
  • Turning your mobile device on or off
  • Operating any other function of the mobile device

If you’re parked safely on the side of the road, you’re permitted to use your mobile device. However, if you’re stationary, but still in traffic, this is illegal and will incur a hefty fine if caught.

If you have an accident while using a mobile device not mounted in the correct way, you can be charged with more serious offenses that may occur, such as driving without due care and dangerous driving. These types of offenses can carry severe penalties.

If you’re new to driving, or are an experienced driver, the best advice is to avoid using your smartphone while driving. The risk to yourself, other drivers and pedestrians are just too great if you’re distracted, even for just a few seconds.

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