Understanding NSW Rules for In-Car Mobile Use

Date Posted:31 July 2013 

Last year, the NSW government introduced some new rules for mobile phone usage in the car.

A quick breakdown of the rules suggests that smartphones can still be used for audio, GPS, and calling only if the phone is secured to a fixed mounting. Texting, reading messages, email, and video chats are not allowed even with a mount. The mounting should be based on the windscreen or dashboard, and it should provide a secure, safe base for the smartphone.

Phones may also be used without a mount if the driver does not touch or manipulate their phone while driving. For example, the driver can interact with a phone without direct contact if the driver uses Bluetooth and controls on the steering wheel or on the dash.

If caught using your phone illegally, you can be fined $298, or $397 if you’re located in a school zone at the time. You will also lose three demerit points. Driving includes stopping at lights, but does not include parking the car by the side of the road, so drivers can hold their phone if they park their car first.

The rules have been introduced to encourage drivers to keep their eyes on the road, and to reduce driver distraction. Learner drivers and P-Platers may not use their phone even if they use a mount or hands-free device.