Mobile Phone Use While Driving
I was caught driving while using a mobile phone but I was not even holding the mobile phone. It was on my lap! What do I do?
Under regulation 265 of the Road Traffic Code 2000 (WA), a driver of the vehicle must not use a mobile phone while the vehicle is moving, or stationary but not parked, unless:
The phone is being used to receive a call, or other than a text message, video message, e-mail or similar communication, and the body of the phone is:
- Secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle while being so used; or,
- Not secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle and is not being held by the driver, and the use of the phone does not require the driver, at any time while using it, to press anything on the body of the phone or otherwise to manipulate any part of the body of the phone;
Other Circumstances That Allow the Use of the Phone While Driving
The visual display of the phone is being used as a driver’s aid (under certain conditions) and the use of the phone does not require the driver, at any time, while using it, to press anything on the body of the phone or otherwise manipulate any part of the body of the phone.
It must be noted that the word ‘use’ includes holding the phone, enter or place anything into the phone (or send or look at anything that is in the phone), turning the phone on or off; or operate any other function of the phone.
It must also be noted that the word ‘held’ means that driver cannot rest the phone on any of the driver’s body parts. But this does not include the ‘held’ in the pocket of the driver’s clothing, or in a pouch worn by the driver.
We recommend that you contact WN Legal’s criminal defence lawyer for further advice on whether there are any defences possible, or for further guidance on what you can do.
Mobile Phone Road Rules
The law governing mobile phone use in Western Australia is regulation 265(2) of the Road Traffic Code 2000 (WA) (RTC). This statute makes it an offence for a driver to use a cellular device while the vehicle they are driving is moving or is stationary but not parked, such as at a stop light. However, some exceptions apply.
The applicable exceptions are:
- Making and receiving audio calls while the mobile phone is in a mounting attached to the vehicle
- Making and receiving audio calls without touching any part of the cell phone
- Using the phone to navigate while it is in a mount fixed to the car without touching the cell phone
The Term ‘using’ a Mobile Phone Includes Any of the Following
- Holding the phone or resting it against your body
- Touching or operating the functions of the phone, such as
- Powering off or on
- Using voice-to-text capabilities
- Any use of video communication
- Using voice recognition functions for any purpose other than audio calls
- Any application that involves touching the phone
- Using a smartwatch to operate a cell phone
Demerits and Fines for Mobile Phone Use While Driving in Western Australia
Driving while distracted by your mobile phone is a dangerous practice that can have fatal consequences. This is why the Western Australian government has established significant implications for drivers caught using mobile phones.
- Offence – Touching or holding a mobile phone that is not attached to the vehicle to make, receive or end a voice call
Penalty – $500
Demerits – 3
- Offence – Creating, sending, or viewing a text, email, social media, photo, video or similar
Penalty – $1000
Demerits – 4
**Note** These are the penalties and demerits for the first offences. Repeat offenders may be subject to additional fines and demerits.
Your Criminal Defence Lawyers in Western Australia
Our team of experienced lawyers have a unique understanding of mobile phone road rules and its penalties. Contact WN Legal today for any for further advice on whether there are any defences possible, or for further guidance on what you can do.
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The Western Australia Road Traffic Code (265 2) makes it an offence to use a mobile device while the vehicle they are driving is moving or is stationary but not parked unless an exception applies.
What exceptions allow using a mobile device while the vehicle is moving or stationary but not parked?
You can use a mobile device legally in the circumstances mentioned above if you:
- Make or receive audio calls while the cell phone is in a mounting device attached to the car
- Make or receive audio calls without touching or manipulating the phone in any way
- Use the phone as a navigational aid without touching or manipulating the phone in any way
No. The motor vehicle operator may not touch a mobile phone in any way, including resting the phone on any part of the driver’s body.
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