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Is It Legal to Use Bluetooth While Driving?

Is It Legal to Use Bluetooth While Driving?

Mobile phone use when driving is illegal in most circumstances. Find out how this applies to using Bluetooth in your vehicle.

30th March 2020
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Hefty Fines and Penalties for Mobile Phone Use

By now, most people that live here are aware of the tougher penalties for NSW drivers. As of March 1, the grace period for mobile phone use in vehicles have ended. Ultimately, drivers caught using their mobile phones will lose 5 demerit points and a $334 fine, or $457 fine if caught within a school zone. During double demerits, drivers will lose 10 demerits points. You can only use your phone if your car has Bluetooth or if your mobile is secured in a cradle.

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Do The Right Thing

Firstly, learners or provisional (P1 or P2) licenses are strictly forbidden from using a mobile phone when in a moving car. Restricted drivers also cannot:

  • Make or receive audio phone calls
  • Using music or audio functions
  • Using an app for driver’s aid (carplay, google maps, wave)

Therefore, the only form of navigation allowed for restricted licenses is a car navigation unit such as a Garmin or TomTom. 

To make or receive calls, unrestricted drivers must have their mobile phone in either secured in a cradle fixed to the vehicle or the car has bluetooth capabilities when driving the car. Hence, the phone must be placed in a cradle or through Bluetooth, Apple Carplay or Android Auto for navigation purposes.

If you’re going on a fast food run, make sure your car is stationary in the drive thru to use wallet functions such as cardless pay or apple pay. 

The Don’ts

It is illegal to hold or use a mobile phone at any time while driving or riding a vehicle. Other prohibited activities include:

  • Facetime or video calling
  • Emailing 
  • Scrolling the gram, No social media- you can wait 
  • Surfing the web
  • Photography

What if I do not have a Bluetooth enabled vehicle?

You are not permitted to rest the mobile phone on your lap or any part of your body, even if the phone is put on loudspeaker. The only method of listening music to answering phone calls is through the Bluetooth headset or if you have parked your vehicle safely.

Mobile Phone Detection Cameras

The use of infra-red flash to capture clear images of passing vehicles in all traffic and weather conditions and artificial intelligence software is part of the mechanisms of the mobile phone detection camera.

If the AI deems that it poses a potential mobile phone offence, an authorised adjudicator will review and verify the footage. Rejected images will be permanently deleted within an hour of detection. 

Speeding and red-light offences have utilized similar technology.

When will you be notified of an offence?

A penalty notice is issued within the week of the offence. 

What if you were not the registered owner of the vehicle at the time of the offence?

The legislation clearly states that the registered owner is to nominate the person responsible for the offence. 

What is the purpose for this mobile phone law reform?

Since 2012, there have been 183 casualty crashes involving the use of a mobile phone. This resulted in 13 deaths and 245 injuries. Furthermore, the mere distraction for drivers caused by mobile phones has been a major factor towards road trauma. 

For more information about road safety:

For other articles relating to driver safety:

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Andrew Huynh

Andrew Huynh is a legal intern at Lawpath. He is currently completing a double degree in Business/Law at the University of Technology, Sydney. He is interested in commercial and intellectual property law. He is pursuing study in the legal implications of the disruption of technology.