Fact from fiction: what's legal phone use when driving

THE Department of Transport and Main Roads clears up some frequently asked questions about phone use behind the wheel...

Can I use a mobile phone with the phone in my hand while driving?

No. Driving with a mobile phone in the driver's hand is illegal. This includes, but is not limited to, making and receiving calls and any other function of the phone. You can be fined if your mobile phone is in your hand for any reason while you are driving.

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Can I use a mobile phone that is in my hand while stopped at traffic lights or in a queue of congested traffic?

No. If you are stopped in traffic it is illegal for the driver to use a mobile phone that is held in his or her hand.

Can I stop on the side of the road to use my mobile phone?

Yes so long as you park legally.

What does "park legally" mean?

To stop and stay in an area where there is no prohibition on stopping or parking. It is recommended that you secure the vehicle by applying parking brakes; put the automatic transmission into "park" and turn off the ignition.

Can I use a mobile phone that is hands-free?

Yes so long as you are not a learner driver, P-plater or probationary licence holder under the age of 25 years.

If I'm a learner driver or P-plater under the age of 25 years can I use a mobile phone hands free?

There is a ban on all mobile phone use (including hands-free) for:

 learner drivers under 25 years of age

 P1 provisional drivers under 25 years of age

 P1 probationary licence holders and P1 restricted licence holders who hold a restricted licence because of a young driver disqualification offence.

There is also a ban on mobile phone use on loudspeaker function for supervisors and passengers of these drivers.