Phones designed to distract – leave it alone
New mobile phone penalties have now begun in WA, and Road Safety Commissioner Adrian Warner has warned West Australian drivers and riders to just leave the phone alone.
Drivers or riders caught holding or touching their phone to make a voice call will receive an increased penalty of a $500 infringement and three demerit points.
A higher penalty of a $1000 infringement and four demerit points applies to drivers or riders who create or view a text or video, use video chat, use other function or app on their phone that can result in a high level of distraction.
“Mobile phones are designed to distract us – whether it’s a text, a video chat or someone has tagged you on Instagram - we are drawn to the screen as soon as it lights up,” said Mr Warner.
“When you get behind the wheel or on the bike, leave your phone alone, and if you can’t, put it in the backseat.
“There’s nothing that important that it can’t wait until you’re at the end of your journey.”
Drivers and riders in Western Australia can only touch their mobile phone if it is in a cradle mounted securely to the vehicle, to make, receive or end a voice call.
“It’s important to reiterate that the rules around mobile phone use in vehicles have not changed, it is only the penalties that have been amended,” said Mr Warner.
“Even if your phone is in a cradle, you can’t change the song or podcast on your phone, or look at a text, or change the route on your map app – or you’ll lose $1000 infringement and be slapped with 4 demerit points.
“Don’t have the phone resting on your lap or make a call while holding the phone in your hand, even if it’s on speaker phone – or you’ll be $500 out of pocket and cop 3 demerit points.”
There is now an exception for drivers of on-demand transport who will be permitted to touch a phone securely mounted to the vehicle to accept, start or decline a job ONLY.
However, they are NOT permitted to touch their phone for ANY reason if they are travelling:
- in a school zone during the school zone activated period;
- on the freeway;
- on a road with a speed limit of 80km/h or more; or
- in a SLOMO or slow down, move over situation, where a vehicle must slow down to 40km/h to pass an emergency response vehicle with lights activated parked on the side of the road.
Drivers of on-demand transport vehicles must NOT touch the phone to use any other function on the phone, including other actions within their dispatch app.
For more information on the new penalties for illegal mobile phone use on WA roads see Rules and Penalties.