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Queensland Government targeting texting drivers 

 

Motorists repeatedly caught texting or using their mobile phone while driving will face stiffer penalties under changes being rolled out by the Queensland Government this month. 

Mobile Phones While Driving 

 

If you’re not already aware on 1 February 2020 the penalty for using your mobile phone whilst driving increased to a fine of $1000.00 and 4 demerit points. For drivers caught twice within 12 months, double demerit points apply, and you may now lose your licence.

 

The law which provides that you cannot use a mobile phone while driving is found in section 244O of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Road Rules) Regulation 2004:-  

 

244O Using mobile phones on device 

 

  1. A person must not use a mobile phone that the person is holding in the person’s hands while the person is using a personal mobility device. 

 

Maximum penalty—20 penalty units. 

 

What does using a mobile phone mean?

Under 224O(2) using a mobile phone is described as either one of the following:- 

 

(a) holding the phone to, or near, the ear, whether or not engaged in a phone call;

(b) writing, sending or reading a text message on the phone; 

(c) turning the phone on or off; 

(d) operating any other function of the phone.

 

 

Can I still use my handsfree function? 

Given the definition explicitly states that a person commits the offence where the person “…use[s] a mobile phone that the person is holding in the person’s hands”. Arguably, this means that if you use your car’s handsfree function and are not touching your phone, you are not committing the offence. 

 

What if I am not moving (e.g. sitting at a red light)? 

Where you are driving a vehicle on a road and are caught using a mobile phone, you cannot use being stationary or stopped as a defence. The term “drive” is defined in Schedule 5 of the Act and includes the words “be in control of”. This is a broad definition and could capture a large range of circumstances which drivers may encounter on the roads.
 

 

Can I use my mobile and press buttons if it is placed in a holder on the dashboard?

As the offence requires that the mobile phone be in a persons hands, it is arguable that if your mobile phone is sitting in a holder on the dashboard then you are not committing the offence (this would be relevant for Uber, Didi and OIa drivers).  

Can I use Google maps?

Yes. However, you would be required to set up the navigation before you begin driving and ideally you would need to have the device in a holder so avoid having to place the phone in your hands. 

 

Can I  take part in a call on my mobile in speaker mode?

Yes. However, you would not be able to touch your phone in any way while doing so.  

 

Can I listen to podcasts or music on my mobile when driving?

 

Yes. However, you would not be able to touch your phone in any way while doing so.  

 

Can I contest my fine and do I need a lawyer? 

 

If you wish to contest a fine for this offence, you have 28 days from the date the fine is issued to do so. Before making any election to contest the fine we would advise speaking with one of our lawyers first.  

 

I have accumulated all of my demerit points. What can I do?

 

If you are fined for this offence and have accumulated all of your 12 demerit points you will be given the option by the Department of Transport to complete either a 3 month driver suspension or a 12 month good behaviour period (during which you will be allocated 2 points).  

 

If you choose the good driving behaviour period and accumulate in excess of 2 demerit points during the 12 month period you may be eligible to apply for a Special Hardship Order which will, if granted allow you to drive in accordance with the conditions of the order. 

 

If you would like to find out more about Special hardship Orders, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free initial consultation. 

 

Please note, the FAQ’s answered above are answered on the basis that a driver holds an open driver licence and are answer on the basis of the law as current in Queensland only. 

 

If you have been caught using a mobile phone whilst driving and need some advice please do not hesitate to contact us today. 

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Mobile Phones and Driving

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Queensland Traffic Lawyers


(07) 5532 3133

 

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