Drivers caught using phone will cop five demerit points

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The State Government is continuing to come down hard on drivers who can’t keep their hands off their mobile phones with the toughest demerit point penalty for the offence in Australia.

The penalty for illegally using a mobile phone while driving in NSW has increased from four to five demerit points. The changes came into force on Monday.

In holiday periods, the offence will attract 10 demerit points, up from eight points.

The fine is not changing and remains $337, or $448 if detected in a school zone.

Last financial year over 40,000 people were fined for using their phones while driving. From 2012 to 2017, there were 175 crashes involving mobile phones resulting in nine deaths and 50 serious injuries.

Centre for Road Safety Executive Director Bernard Carlon said illegal mobile phone use is a growing problem in NSW and is underreported in road crashes.

“Last financial year over 40,000 people were fined for using a mobile phone while driving and we know around 25 per cent of drivers in NSW admit to doing it,” Mr Carlon said.

“At 60km/h, a car travels 33 metres in two seconds, at 100km/h it travels 55 metres. Take your eyes off the road for a few seconds and you continue to travel, virtually blind.

“Such a short lapse of concentration can have significant and devastating consequences and from 2012 to 2017, nine people lost their lives and 50 people were seriously injured because someone was using a mobile phone while driving.”

The Government has already passed legislation to support testing of camera-based technology to enforce mobile phone offences in the future – a world first.

“This will send the drivers of NSW a clear message that using a mobile phone while driving is potentially deadly and will not be tolerated on NSW roads,” Mr Carlon said.

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