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Controversial drive-through rule sparks more questions

Controversial drive-through rule sparks more questions

Earlier this month, a Facebook post by Victoria Police made headlines after it revealed a little-known rule on using phone when going through a drive-through.

Many drivers expressed surprise when the police said using a handheld mobile phone at a fast-food outlet’s drive-through is an offence that carries demerit points and hundreds of dollars in fine.

“If you intend to use your mobile phone to pay at the drive-thru window, apply the hand brake, switch the engine off and then access your mobile phone,” they informed.

The law applies in all states and territories.

The revelation was met with criticism, with motorists saying the rule is “ridiculous” and “needs to be reviewed”.

“Using a mobile device as a payment method is part of living in this day and age,” one commented.

“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,” another wrote.

The information also sparked questions about digital driver’s licences, which are available for use in South Australia and parts of Sydney, Albury and Dubbo. The technology will also be rolled out in New South Wales and regional Queensland later this year.

One motorist asked whether handing digital licences, which are accessible by phone, to a police officer will count as an offence.

NSW Transport told news.com.au that the law regarding the use of mobile phone while driving was amended in 2018 to clarify that it is not illegal to use your phone to show your digital licence if an officer has instructed you to do so.

“A driver who accesses their digital driver’s licence on their phone before they are requested to do so by police is committing an offence,” a spokesperson said.

Inspector Cynthia Healey of the SA Traffic Support Branch advised drivers to make sure their vehicle is out of gear with the handbrake on, parked and turned off before using their phone.

“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,” she said in a statement.