Mobile Phone Use While Driving
Criminal Law

What Are The Penalties For Mobile Phone Use While Driving?

Using a mobile phone while driving is dangerous, stupid and in most of Australia, illegal. The exact penalties for mobile phone use while driving vary by state, so it’s important to do a bit of research if you’re worried. However, the safest and best course of action is always to not use your phone while you’re on the road.

If you do get issued an infringement for using your mobile phone when you don’t believe that you should have, a criminal lawyer may be able to help you resolve your case. Since the penalties for mobile phone use are significant in most of Australia, it’s often worth fighting infringements if you don’t believe that you’ve done anything wrong.

What Are The Penalties For Mobile Phone Use While Driving In Western Australia?

In 2011, new laws came into place that make it completely illegal to use or touch your mobile phone while driving. Mobile phone use is distracting, and distracted drivers are more likely to make mistakes and cause accidents. The same penalties apply to all drivers, and they include:

  • $400 fine and three demerit points for using your mobile phone to send an email or check social media.
  • $400 fine and three demerits for making a phone call using a hand-held phone while driving.
  • $400 fine and three demerits for sending or viewing a video message while driving.
  • $400 fine and three demerits for sending or viewing text messages while driving.

As you can imagine, fines this big are major for a lot of people in WA, especially for those who work for a low wage.

When Can I Use A Mobile Phone While Driving?

There are a few exceptions to the rule, allowing drivers to make calls and use GPS while driving under certain circumstances.

A driver can touch their phone to make or receive phone calls if it’s securely fastened within an appropriate hands free mounting. Alternatively, they can use technology such as voice activation, and Bluetooth hands free earpieces or headpieces to make and receive calls without touching their phone.

Current laws state that a driver can use GPS if they don’t have to touch the keypad or screen of their phone while driving.

What Should I Do If I’ve Received An Infringement For A Mobile Phone Offence I Didn’t Commit?

If you think that you’ve incorrectly received a penalty for mobile phone use while driving, the first thing you should do is contact your local criminal lawyer to discuss your options. In some cases, it may be worth fighting the infringement, especially if the resulting demerit points mean that you’re going to have your licence suspended or disqualified.

Ultimately, the safest thing to do is to put your mobile phone away in your handbag or glove box while you’re driving to reduce the temptation of doing the wrong thing.