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Mobile Phones in Cars: A Cheat’s Guide to What You Can and Cannot Do While Driving

Read this and avoid a traffic offence

using mobile phone in cars

South Australian Police are cracking down once more on drivers using mobile phones. (891ABC Adelaide: Brett Williamson)

891 ABC Adelaide posted an article about using mobile phones in cars on 10 September 2015.  It is written by Brett Williamson headed “A cheat’s guide to what you can and cannot do while driving

As police are targeting drivers using mobile phones, road safety officer Sergeant John Illingworth spoke with 891 ABC Adelaide’s Breakfast program to explain what is and isn’t legal.

The full article is worth reading here but Sgt Illingworth’s main points are:

  • It is illegal to use the phone while driving if it is resting on any part of the body, including the lap.
  • Drivers are allowed to press buttons on the phone — if it is secured in a holder — or press buttons on accompanying devices, but only to answer the phone or make calls.
  • It is illegal  to use a mobile phone for anything other than making or receiving calls while the vehicle was being driven or was parked with the motor running.

Learner and provisional licence drivers are not allowed to use mobile phones or hands-free devices at any time.

You are four times more likely to have a crash by using a phone, whether it is handheld or not


  • It is not illegal to carry your phone in your pocket while you are driving your car.
  • You do not have to remove the keys from the ignition if you pull over to answer a call but you must turn the vehicle’s engine off.
  • You may answer the phone by clicking on earpiece remotes or Bluetooth headsets.
  • Accessing phone applications, sending SMS and using the phone for GPS functions is illegal, but touching a designated GPS unit that is fixed in the vehicle is not.

South Australia’s Motor Accident Committee said drivers not paying attention caused almost 38 per cent of fatal car accidents in the state last year, with more than half of all of the road accidents a result of inattention.

Under current South Australian law, the penalty for using a mobile phone while driving is a $308 fine, a $60 Victims of Crime levy, and three demerit points.  “The whole idea of the legislation is to stop you holding the phone in your hand.”

The traffic law experts at Williams Barristers and Solicitors have extensive experience in all areas of traffic. Get in touch on (08) 8451 7609 to make an appointment.

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