Smartphones are amazing things; they connect us, they inform us and they amuse us. They also have the potential to get us in a lot of trouble with the law. While there’s a few minor differences between the Australian states with regards to what you can and can’t do with your mobile phone a good rule of thumb is that you can make or receive phone calls if:
- The phone is mounted into a commercially available mounting device; or
- The driver of the vehicle doesn’t need to touch or manipulate the mobile phone in any way to do so
The laws vary a little, but generally speaking, you’re only allowed to make or receive calls. It’s illegal to do anything other than this unless your car is parked (and usually the engine off and keys out of the ignition). This means no emails, no text messaging, no tweeting, no posting to other social networks and definitely no video calls. The purpose of these laws is to keep drivers’ eyes on the road. There are some exceptions to this general rule, for example mobile phones that have GPS or music features, but they are few and far between.
While there’s plenty of other things you can do in a vehicle that you probably won’t get pulled over for that are just as distracting, mobile phone use is in the spotlight right now and that’s what we’re focussed on here at Ausdroid.
The kit meets the requirements of all states regarding being a fixed mounting kit for your mobile device, which means you’re allowed to make and receive calls from the device while it’s in the mounting kit. Here’s my take on the kit, the ease of mounting it and use in the vehicle:
Ausdroid recommends that you seek your own advice about what you can and can’t do with your phone while in the car. The safest option is to travel with a co-pilot who can manipulate the phone for you, so you can focus on driving the car. However, if you must do it yourself, be mindful that the police just love to pull people over for doing the wrong thing with their mobiles. Our deputy editor Chris can attest to this, having run afoul of these laws in Victoria on a technicality.
Just don’t risk it. For more information, check out the Australian Government Roads Information Site for links to state and territory laws and requirements.
Have you been unfortunate enough to get picked up for using a mobile phone? Have you invested in a Bluetooth kit or mounting kit since? Let us know your experiences in the comments below