Danielle McCarthy

Harsh new $337 road rule you need to know

Harsh new $337 road rule you need to know

Harsh new laws that were introduced yesterday could see drivers being fined hundreds of dollars and possibly lose their license if they are caught touching their phone when driving.

The new laws introduced across New South Wales on September 17 mean drivers will now lose five demerit points rather than four if they are caught using their phones.

NSW motorists will also receive a $337 fine, making the state the strictest in the country for the offence.

During double demerit periods, including public holidays and long weekends, those who touch their phone while driving can be penalised up to 10 demerit points.

Drivers or motorcyclists with a Learner, P1 or P2 licence cannot use their phone under any circumstances while on the road.

“These drivers may only use a mobile phone if their vehicle is parked,” a spokesperson for Transport NSW said.

Under the stricter new laws, if a Learner or P1 is caught using their phone they will automatically incur a three-month driving suspension as they only have a threshold of four demerit points.

P2 drivers will have three demerit points remaining if they are caught illegally using a mobile phone on the road.

When NSW Roads Minister Melinda Pavey announced the increased penalties in July, she said a government survey showed that 74 per cent of the community supported further limiting in-car mobile use.

“We all see it and the community has had enough,” Ms Pavey said.

NSW motorists are only legally allowed to use their phone while driving for calls, music and navigation if it is secure in a cradle fixed to the car and doesn’t obscure a driver’s vision.

Drivers can also only use their phones for the same purposes if they can activate it without touching it, such as through Bluetooth or voice activation.

The only time a motorist can hold a phone is if they are passing it across to a passenger.

A spokesperson for Transport NSW warned that using your phone legally can still be risky.

“Drivers are reminded that using a mobile phone legally can still be distracting and should always consider the current road conditions before using a mobile phone while driving.”