From November 25th this year, drivers caught breaching mobile phone laws will face an increased fine of $433 and the loss of four demerit points. For Learner drivers and P-platers, this fine will apply to using a hands-free phone at the wheel.

Hefty fines, but here are the reasons as outlined by VicRoads:

Using a phone is physically distracting; it takes hands off the car’s controls and it’s also visually distracting and speaking to someone while driving has been linked to poor decision-making.

But there are legal ways to use the phone:

  • Get a holder – The law says you can use your phone as a GPS, an audio player or for hands-free talking if it’s in a car-mounted holder and you do not touch it.
  • Park – Pulling over and flipping the car into park or neutral with the handbrake on will mean you can be distracted and otherwise occupied without endangering yourself or others. This doesn’t mean you can use your phone while stopped at the lights, that’s still illegal.
  • Cue up, look up, go. – While parked, look up your next address or cue up your music then get moving, because simply touching your phone could land you with a fine and demerits.