New mobile phone laws in NSW to improve driver safety

Date: Oct 22, 2012

Driving while using a mobile phone can increase the risk of fatal car accidents, which is why there are laws in place to dissuade motorists from doing so.

However, it seems that many are still not getting the message, which has prompted the NSW government to tighten these laws even further.

From November 1 2012, motorists will not be able to touch their devices unless they are mounted.

Currently it is illegal to talk and hold your phone while driving. This new law hopes to further enforce the message that even simply holding a device can be dangerous.

Centre for Road Safety general manager Marg Prendergast said that people should try to completely avoid contact with their phones when they are behind the wheel – after all, it is better to be safe than sorry.

“The best thing to do is stay off your phone while driving – it can wait,” Ms Prendergast said in a statement issued Friday (October 19).

“If you must talk on a hands-free phone while driving keep the conversation short,” she added.

It is also advised that people invest in headsets or Bluetooth technology, so that they do not have to pick up their device to answer calls.

Ms Prendergast reminds motorists that these new laws are not created to be a burden or impose on their comfort – they are in place to save lives.

“Using a mobile phone while driving is dangerous, because it slows reaction times and increases the chance of having a crash,” she said.

“The changes will help reduce the interaction people have with their mobile phone and help improve safety on our roads,” she added.

Transport for NSW will be implementing further amendments to other road rules, including new policies for driving around roundabouts, overtaking and giving way to pedestrians.

There will also be changes to some heavy vehicle legislation, which will hopefully improve safety – heavy vehicles are notorious for being involved in crashes and causing catastrophic injury.

For more information visit the Transport for NSW website.

Ms Prendergast concluded: “The majority of these changes are minor and will help highlight the current laws and others are changes we all need to be aware of to increase safety and improve traffic movement on the road.

“The new rules will also bring us in line with Australian Road Rules changes so there is consistency across the country for all road users.”

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