NSW rules for using phone while driving

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NSW Police fined a man for watching cricket footage while driving during the Australia Day long weekend.

Parammata Highway Patrol said the man was” Parramatta watching the Australia Day cricket in full screen mode on his mobile phone” while driving on Victoria Road on January 26.

Police said the Honda driver’s was held in a cradle attached to the dashboard to the right of the steering wheel.

“The driver was so engrossed in the match he did not see police on a fully marked motorcycle alongside him and then continued east when the lights changed to green,” police said.

“When stopped and spoken to [he] said ‘I was caught in the moment’.”

Adding insult to the injury of a $387 fine and the loss of 10 demerit points during NSW’s double demerits period, the Australian cricket team went on to lose their test match with the West Indies.

A post on the NSW Highway Patrol Facebook page reminded drivers to not to “get caught in the moment”, which elicited cricket puns on social media.

While some users poked fun with quips such as “Howzat for a fine!” and “As the great Bill Lawrie once said, ‘got him!’”, others questioned whether the loss of 10 demerit points was “a bit excessive” or “a bit rough”.

“Interesting that a mobile phone screen is an offence but having these new cars with a screen as big as a laptop in the middle of the dash is OK,” said another reader.

NSW laws for mobile phones only allow drivers to use a phone in a cradle to make or receive calls, play audio or operate driver aids such as navigation services.

P-plate drivers in NSW cannot use their mobile phone for any purpose while driving, including accessing maps, making calls or sending text messages, whether the phone is hand held, in a cradle or hands-free.

Fully licenced drivers in NSW can use their phone’s hands-free functions, or access mapping and other features while using a commercially manufactured phone holder.

Police fined a woman driving a Mercedes on Sunday after she was caught “holding the phone cradle with the phone in her left-hand using GPS navigation to return home”.

“When police approached the driver, the phone was still being held as seen while driving,” police said.

“When stopped and spoken to she said, ‘Yeah because the cradle is broken what can I do? I need GPS’.”