Demerit points on the rise for drivers using phones

Hold the phone - demerit points on the rise for drivers who can’t keep their hands off it

The NSW Government is continuing to come down hard on drivers who can’t keep their hands off their mobile phones with the toughest demerit point penalty for the offence in Australia.

The penalty for illegally using a mobile phone while driving in NSW will increase from four to five demerit points from 17 September. 

KEY POINTS:

  • From 17 September the demerit point penalty for using a mobile phone while driving will increase from four to five points. In holiday periods, the offence will attract 10 demerit points, up from 8 points.
  • The fine is not changing and remains $337, or $448 if detected in a school zone.
  • Last financial year over 40,000 people were fined for using their phones while driving.
  • From 2012 to 2017, there were 175 crashes involving mobile phones resulting in nine deaths and 50 serious injuries.

Centre for Road Safety Executive Director Bernard Carlon said illegal mobile phone use is a growing problem in NSW and is underreported in road crashes.

“Last financial year over 40,000 people were fined for using a mobile phone while driving and we know around 25 per cent of drivers in NSW admit to doing it,” Mr Carlon said.

“At 60km/h, a car travels 33 metres in two seconds, at 100km/h it travels 55 metres. Take your eyes off the road for a few seconds and you continue to travel, virtually blind.

“Such a short lapse of concentration can have significant and devastating consequences and from 2012 to 2017, nine people lost their lives and 50 people were seriously injured because someone was using a mobile phone while driving.”

The Government has already passed legislation to support testing of camera-based technology to enforce mobile phone offences in the future – a world first.

“This will send the drivers of NSW a clear message that using a mobile phone while driving is potentially deadly and will not be tolerated on NSW roads,” Mr Carlon said.

Lead researcher at QUT Oscar Oviedo-Trespalacios said using a mobile phone while driving was shown to increase the risk of a crash fourfold

Lead researcher at QUT Oscar Oviedo-Trespalacios said using a mobile phone while driving was shown to increase the risk of a crash fourfold