Mobile phones and driving in South Australia

traffic offense law Adelaide

Driving is a difficult undertaking that necessitates the application and coordination of a variety of skills. Any gap in focus increases the likelihood of the vehicle colliding. Driving while using a hand-held cell phone can induce physical and mental distractions, resulting in reduced driving performance. According to the Traffic Offence Lawyer Adelaide, using a cell phone while driving can seriously damage a driver’s ability to:

  • time to react
  • patterns of visual search
  • ability to maintain speed and road position
  • ability to detect safe traffic gaps
  • a general understanding of other road users

According to studies by Criminal lawyer Adelaide, talking on a cell phone while driving raises the risk of an accident by four times. ‘Run-off-the-road’ and ‘rear-end’ incidents are the most common forms of crashes connected with cellphone use.


Using a cellphone while driving might put rookie drivers in even more danger since they may have trouble managing the multiple demands on their driving – such as perceptual, mental, and physical duties. According to studies, rookie drivers who use their phones spend less time looking at the road front of them. They’re also more inclined to stray across the road (across traffic lanes) and miss driving hazards.


In an emergency, a cell phone can be quite useful. Stop and park safely where there is no chance of accidents with other road users if you need to use your cellphone to call for help.

The use of any form of mobile phone function while driving is prohibited for drivers with a Learner’s Permit (L) or Provisional (P1). This includes everything such as using the hands-free mode, using on loudspeaker operation and even text messaging.


Why is it dangerous to use a mobile phone while driving?


It’s difficult to know when it’s safe to turn in traffic. When you use your phone while driving, your judgement and focus are impaired, and you may fail to choose a safe gap. When making a decision to turn across oncoming traffic, you don’t always think about the weather, such as if it’s pouring or the roads are slick. You risk crashing if you don’t make cautious turns.

When you’re on the phone, you tend to react more slowly, especially if you’re in the middle of a conversation. Traffic signals may take longer to respond to or you may totally miss them.

When you’re on the phone, your brake reaction time slows down, and you brake with more power and less control, resulting in shorter stopping distances between you and the automobile ahead of you.

Even on a straight road with no traffic, you’re more likely to drift out of your lane if you’re on your phone.

When you’re using your phone, you’re less likely to check your mirrors or what’s going on around you. This has an impact on your ability to safely monitor and negotiate traffic.


Mobile phone and driving rules in South Australia


An interesting piece about the use of mobile phones was published in The Advertiser. The figures are astounding. So far as per the studies, distraction has been connected to one out of every three fatal crashes, with many of them using cell phones. Between July 1 and September 30, 2019, South Australian police arrested 2519 persons for using their cellphones. This equates to 27 each day on average.

On July 1, the fine for using a cellphone in South Australia increased from $344 to $534, plus a $60 victim of crime levy. Three demerit points are also assessed for the offence.


How to use the phone legally?

Rule 300 of the Australian Road Rules outlines how and when you can legally use a cellphone while driving for full licence holders and P2 licence holders. The following are the details:

If the phone is mounted, you can make a phone call, dial a number, and receive a phone call while driving.

You can make or receive a phone call if the phone is not mounted and is being used via Bluetooth, a headset, or earbuds, as long as you are not touching the phone or having it rest on your body (being in your pocket or a pouch is fine). When making a phone call in this manner, you can use the phone by touching the earpiece or headset.

You are free to use your phone when parked (this does not include being stopped at lights or in traffic).

If you are driving an emergency vehicle or a police car, you are also free to use your phone.


When is it illegal to use mobile phone while driving?

As a driver, you cannot –

Create, send, or read a text or email message.

Enter, send, place or send anything as it is on the phone

send or make video call

activate and deactivate the phone.

use the phone’s functions in any way (other than dialling a number if the phone is mounted).

Unless you’re giving the phone to a passenger, keep your phone’s body in your hand at all times.

If you have a Learner’s permit or a P1 licence, you are not permitted to use a cellphone or a hands-free device at any time.


Common questions asked 


Is it necessary to turn off the ignition before touching your phone?


The vehicle must be in park, but the ignition can be left turned on.


Can I use Bluetooth to talk if my phone isn’t on a cradle?


You can do so as long as you don’t touch the gadget. This includes placing the phone in any location within the car as long as it does not touch or rest on the driver’s body.


Is it possible to call a phone number while driving?


Unrestricted or full licence holders can use their phone to make or receive calls while driving as long as it is firmly secured in a cradle.


Is it permissible for me to use the GPS on my phone while driving?


You can’t use the GPS on your phone while driving because you can’t touch it. While your phone can be used as a GPS if it is in a cradle, you will need to pull over if you wish to alter the view or update your location.


Is it possible to change the song on my phone by touching it?


No, you’ll have to pull over to change the music.


Tips for using a cell phone safely while driving


  • While driving, never read or send text texts.


  • Instead of answering the phone while driving, leave a message on voicemail.


  • To make or receive a call, pull over safely and park.


  • Schedule phone calls during your journey.


  • When you know you’ll be driving, tell your family and friends not to contact.


  • While driving, never look up phone numbers.



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