When driving a motor vehicle you really have only two core tasks. First is to get yourself and your passengers safely from A to B, and second is to allow other vehicles and pedestrians to get safely from their A to B. Choosing to endanger yourself, your passengers, other drivers and pedestrians by holding and using a mobile phone while driving dramatically decreases your chances of successfully achieving either.
Using a mobile phone while driving is an offence that crosses all demographics. Men and women, young and old, Hyundai and BMW drivers, city and country, broad highways and narrow suburban streets with school zones. It’s happening everywhere and all types of people are committing this dangerous act. And with more mobile phones now integrating smartphone features, there’s the added danger of drivers using a Twitter or game app while behind the wheel.
What exactly is the law?
Just so there is no doubt regarding the law on this matter, here’s the excerpt from the Australian Road Rules, published by the National Transport Commission:
“The driver of a vehicle (except an emergency vehicle or police vehicle) must not use a mobile phone that the driver is holding in his or her hand while the vehicle is moving, or is stationary but not parked, unless the driver is exempt from this rule under another law of this jurisdiction.”
In this rule, ‘mobile phone’ does not include a CB radio or any other two-way radio. Use, in relation to a mobile phone, includes 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
If you do any of the above, make no mistake: you are breaking the law. Not breaking the law in a harmless way, such as exceeding the time limit in a parking zone, but in a way that can have deadly consequences.