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Thousands still pick up the phone behind the wheel

Young drivers are heeding messages about speeding and drink-driving but continue to play with their phones while driving.
Young drivers are heeding messages about speeding and drink-driving but continue to play with their phones while driving. Nicola Brander

MEET me at the cafe.

BRB, driving.

LOL.

It's no secret texting while driving is illegal.

Yet thousands of Sunshine Coast drivers are still picking up the phone and making the dangerous decision to take their eyes off the road, all in the name of checking a Tweet, reading a text message, making a phone call or checking emails.

The use of mobile phones while driving is an offence in Queensland and those caught face a $341 fine and three demerit points.

Already this year more than 200 drivers have been issued traffic infringement notices for using a mobile phone while driving on the Sunshine Coast.

But when is it legal to use a mobile phone while in the car?

As part of the Daily's new Road Rule Rumours series, each Friday we will bust any myths about rules which are commonly broken on the Coast's roads. Send your questions to editorial@scnews.com.au 

We asked Sunshine Coast Road Policing Unit about the law and mobile phones and, in short, the answer is Queensland drivers must not use a mobile phone while the vehicle is moving, or is stationary but not parked legally.

That includes holding the phone to or near the ear, phone calls, writing, sending or reading text messages, turning a phone on or off.

"This means, if you are holding your phone up to your ear and you are stopped in traffic, and then it is an offence as you are not legally parked," Acting Sergeant Mark Sgt Johnston said.

"Even if you weren't engaged in a phone call, merely holding the phone to, or near your ear is an offence.

"If you are driving and you use your Google maps while holding your phone, you commit the offence. If you reply to emails while stationary in traffic, you commit the offence.

"In basic terms, if you are driving a car while holding and using your phone for any reason, you commit the offence."

Sgt Johnson said school and shopping centre car parks were also classed as roads.

He suggested putting your phone well out of reach, such as in the boot of the vehicle, to avoid temptation.

Setting it straight

  • It is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving
  • Merely holding the phone to, or near your ear is an offence
  • $341 fine and three demerit points

Topics:  driving phone


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