In Canberra and elsewhere in Australia, it has become common to see drivers talking on a mobile telephone. It has become equally common to hear people complain that talking on a cellphone while driving is a distraction that causes traffic accidents. Whether that claim is justified or exaggerated, it has caused legislators in the ACT and elsewhere to make the use of a mobile phone while driving a traffic violation. In the ACT, the offence subjects the violator to a $357 fine and to the assessment of 3 demerit points.
If your vehicle is not parked, section 300 of the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Regulation 2000 makes it a violation to use a mobile phone. You are using a mobile phone when:
You are allowed to use your phone if your vehicle is parked, but parked does not mean “not moving.” If you are stopped in traffic or waiting for a red light to change, you are not parked.
You can make and receive telephone calls using a mobile phone while driving under two circumstances.
First, you can dial or answer your mobile phone if it is secured in a mounting that is affixed to the vehicle in a way that is intended by the manufacturer. That generally means that the mounting is affixed to the dashboard so you can still see out the windshield when you touch your phone. Since you cannot hold the phone, you must be able to hear the caller without holding the phone to your ear. You cannot make your own mounting. You can only use a mounting that is commercially designed for holding mobile phones.
Second, if your mobile phone is not secured in a mounting, you can make or receive calls if you are using a hands-free wireless device (such as a Bluetooth device) that allows you to use the phone without touching it.
The display of a notification that a message has been received does not violate the rule. Reading the message while driving does violate the rule.
The mobile phone rules do not apply to:
There is no exception for emergency calls. You must park your vehicle before making any call.