Suspend driver’s licence for mobile phone abuse

Call to double driver phone penalties roundabouts

Drivers who illegally use a mobile phone while driving should have their licence suspended as they do in Canada, says the Motorcycle Council of NSW.

Chairman Steve Pearce says the use of mobile phones and the addition of other in-car distractions needs “urgent action” by the NSW Government.

On September 17, NSW increased the penalty for illegally using a mobile phone while driving in from four to five demerit points.

This follows drivers being fined for not only talking on their phones, but updating their social media profiles and even taking selfies.

However, Steve says the MCCNSW believes it “does not go far enough to deter the use of mobile phones in vehicles”.

“We think that licence suspension for mobile phone use should be mandatory,” he says.

“The growth of in-car displays is also a concern to MCCNSW as they offer additional distraction to drivers in a road and traffic environment which is becoming busier and increasingly unforgiving.”

Mobile phone fines vary across the nation:

  • NSW $337 fine and 5 demerit points;
  • Queensland $391 and 3 points;
  • Victoria $476 and 4 points;
  • Western Australia $400 and 3 points;
  • South Australia $308, plus $60 Victims of Crime levy, and 3 points;
  • Tasmania $300 and 3 points;
  • Northern Territory $250 and 3 points;
  • ACT $386 and 3 points.

Fines around the worldVietnam - double mobile phone penalties

Fines vary around the world from no fine in many Asian countries to thousands of dollars and licence suspensions in Canada.

New Zealand has an $80 fine which matches their low fines for speeding. Consequently 3.5% of Kiwi drivers use their phone while driving compared with about 1.5% in Australia.

Almost half (24) of American states have no hand-held phone ban. Some states only issue fines if the driver is in a school zone or committing some other traffic offence such as speeding. Arizona and Montana even allow drivers to text!

The toughest measures in the USA are in California. The state has a $US150 fine (about $A205) for the first offence and more than $US250 (about $A345) for a second violation and one point.

Canada has a distracted driving offence which attracts a $1000 fine and three demerit points. A second conviction could mean a fine of up to $2000 and a seven-day licence suspension. A third offence could mean a fine of up to $3000 and a 30-day suspension.

Fines in Europe vary from less than €50 (about $80) and one point in eastern Europe to €420 (about $A675) in the Netherlands and up to six points in the UK.Mobile Phones

Safety measures

The call for tougher driver distraction penalties is among recommendations for motorcyclist safety in Steve’s address this week to launch October as Motorcycle Awareness month.

Other rider safety recommendations include:

Road Safety Ride

NSW Motorcycle Awareness Month gets a kickstart on Sunday (7 October 2018) with a Road Safety Ride from Thornleigh to Kariong via the Old Pacific Highway.

The ride will also raise money for MARI (Motorcycle Accident Rehabilitation Initiative) which supports fallen riders.

It starts with breakfast at 8am at Bunnings Thornleigh (corner Pennant Hills Rd and Phyliss Ave) before the ride at 9.30am, ending at The Waterfall Cafe in Kariong.

The Centre for Road Safety will show their Roads We Ride video on the Old Pacific Highway at the Thornleigh Community Centre next door. MCC of NSW will show videos on MotoCAP, the recently launched rating system for motorcycle protective clothing.

8 Comments

  1. I would say that a figure of 1.5% drivers using a mobile phone is a gross underestimate and probably only those who have been charged for the offense. The great majority of drivers get away with, looking at their crutch, swerving out of their lane, generally driving like ignorant arseholes. When there is any real attempt to actually fine etc the actual drivers who have such contempt for other road users including motorcycles, then a true picture of how entrenched this behaviour on the roads has become will be evident. Lani Gayko

  2. I have no doubt that Police would have little trouble nailing 3 ppl per day if they were told to get serious.

    Why 3? Well that’s the number I see every day, and only because they’re the really obvious ones.

    Queensland’s debt problem would be solved overnight. LOL

  3. As a member of Ulysses, I’m on the road quite a lot, I’ve been saying for some time now, the penalty should be $1000.00 fine and lose of licence for 12 months…mandatory. That might stop the buggers using their phones whilst driving.

    1. I was thinking much the same, but 3 months, $1k fine, and 8 points.

      That would probably make its way through the inevitable politics.

      Then get really serious on a second offence: $2k fine and 12 months disqualification. Means they will have to do a driving test to get their licence back.

      3rd offence: 6 months jail.

  4. Another thing that infuriates me is drivers who have a bigass GPS or mobile phone attached to a suction cup smack in the middle of the windscreen at eye height, probably being used for navigation which could easily obscure the view of an oncoming motorcycle. How can they get away with this when during a roadworthy test a windscreen in a car will need to be replaced for hardly visible scratches which can only be seen while specifically looking for them. I cant tell you the times I’ve wanted to reach in and throw these devices into the traffic.

  5. Its not just car/bus/truck drivers at fault but yes even motorcycle/scooter riders. We are riding in Italy at present and took a photo today of a scooter rider texting while on the wrong side of the road overtaking traffic with a bus bearing down on him. There may be penalties here for the offense but like most driving rules it is not enforced and is committed in epidemic rates. Enforcement is the key.

  6. Cagers feel safe in their little world behind the wheel and this encourages a very poor attitude to the safety of others and they become ignorant of the consequences of their actions and start to do really stupid things, they tailgate run lights and stop signs speed in poor conditions and through school zones double park fling doors open without checking and they do everything but pay attention to the road after all they’re safe in their cage.
    And the worst offenders are often in the vehicle with the highest perceived safety.
    If authorities want to make the roads safer idiots who get pinched for ignorant acts like phone use and running lights more than twice in a year should be sentenced to ride a motorcycle as transport if they want to get around or they can stay home under house arrest.

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