Common drive-thru act is actually illegal

A Facebook post by Victoria Police is astounding motorists who may have unwittingly risked a huge fine and demerit points.

Police asked social media users on Friday to vote in a poll that read: "When using a fast-food outlet's drive-through service, can I use my phone to pay?"

Of the 51,000 people that voted, the majority thought it was perfectly fine, with 65 per cent voting yes.

Motorists are usually pretty savvy when it comes to questions posted online, but in this case many discovered they don't know the road rules as well as they thought.

The majority of voters got the question wrong. Picture: Victoria Police/Facebook
The majority of voters got the question wrong. Picture: Victoria Police/Facebook

Victoria Police responded to the poll, revealing it was an offence to use your phone to pay in a drive-through and it carries a whopping $484 fine and four demerit points.

They explained that in order to use a phone as a payment method the vehicle's engine would have to be turned off.

"If you intend to use your mobile phone to pay at the drive-through window, apply the hand brake, switch the engine off and then access your mobile phone," Victoria Police wrote.

"In doing so, you are not considered driving."

Victoria Police also told news.com.au that officers were encouraged to "use discretion and common sense in their everyday duties".

The revelation didn't go down well with many on social media, with the suggestion that the rule needed to be updated to keep up with technology.

"That is bloody ridiculous," one person commented. "Does that mean I can pull on the hand brake, turn off the car at traffic lights and use my phone? I am hoping this is a joke."

"Very obvious that the law needs to keep up with technology," another person said.

One added: "You can't seriously argue that using a mobile phone to pay for the food is too dangerous, but leaning out of the car window (often with both hands) to collect your food, drinks, whatever, is fine."

However, there were some who pointed out there were reasons for this rule to be enforced.

"A drive-through is not private property, all road rules apply while using a drive-through. How can people not understand this?" one person asked.

Another added: "Would people still be against this if you got hit from behind because the person was too busy trying to open the Macca's app and forgot about their brakes?"

It's not just Victoria where you risk a fine - it is considered illegal across the country.

Be careful if you are paying for food on your phone. Picture: JB/Reed /Bloomberg News
Be careful if you are paying for food on your phone. Picture: JB/Reed /Bloomberg News

A Transport NSW spokesperson told news.com.au that mobile phone rules apply to drivers on all roads and road-related areas.

"A road-related area is an area that is open to or used by the public for driving, riding or parking vehicles and therefore includes drive-throughs," the spokesperson said.

"If you want to use a handheld mobile phone your vehicle must be parked out of the line of traffic."

The police from NSW, ACT, Northern Territory and South Australia also confirmed it was an offence to have a mobile phone in your hand while sitting in a running car at a drive-through.

"To use a mobile phone, of which holding one is considered use, you must have your vehicle in a condition in which it is not able to move by itself," Inspector Cynthia Healey from the SA Police Traffic Support Branch said.

"SA Police recommend that the vehicle is out of gear with the handbrake on, and parked in a safe location and switched off before using the mobile device."

PENALTIES IN DIFFERENT STATES

Victoria: $484 fine and four demerit points

NSW: $344 fine and five demerit points

Tasmania: $336 and three demerit points

South Australia: $534 and three demerit points

Queensland: $400 fine and three demerit points

Western Australia: $400 fine and three demerit points

Northern Territory: $500 and three demerit points

ACT: $470 and three demerit points

Is this a crazy rule or does it make sense? Tell us what you think in the comments below.


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