Risk 10 Demerit Points If You Use Your Phone While Driving This Christmas
If you're caught driving and using your phone over Christmas, or any other holiday period you could risk up to 10 demerit points on your licence.
The statistics rolling into Christmas are quite concerning.
Nearly 850 people a week are caught using their mobiles while driving, with 15 percent of drivers not making a conscious effort to limit use, simply because they don't think they'll get caught.
In the last financial year, there was an increase of 20 percent in the amount of people caught using their phones illegally, where nearly 42,000 fines were issued by police.
"If you get caught over the Christmas period and you've been caught before you are almost certainly going to lose your licence," NRMA spokesperson Peter Khoury told 10 News First.
"On top of all of that, the number of people being killed because of this behaviour is far too high," he said.
Alarmingly, one in 10 fatalities on Australia's roads involve illegal mobile phone use and the number of people caught using their phones while driving has risen 18 percent since 2014-15.
"There are more smartphones in this country per capita than anywhere else and we know that young people in particular are at risk. When you look at fatalities among young people, about 40 percent are as a result of people using their phones,"Khoury said.
Khoury's advice for drivers is simple.
"If the temptation is too great, put the phone in the glove box. If you can reach the glove box, put it in the boot."
New technology is currently being trialled in NSW that allows police to see into people's cars to monitor mobile phone use and the NRMA support this as long as it is backed up by warning signs.
“Education ... backed up by strong enforcement is the most effective way to stop people using their phones illegally behind the wheel," Khoury said.
If you are caught using your phone while you're driving, the penalty differs depending on state.
Remember, these double during Christmas and holiday periods in most states.
Illegal Phone Use Penalties State By State
New South Wales: Five demerit points and a fine
Victoria: Four demerit points and a $476 fine
Queensland: Three demerit points and a $391 fine
South Australia: Three demerit points and a $334 fine
Western Australia: Three demerit points and a $400 fine
Tasmania: Three demerit points and a $300 fine
Australian Capital Territory: Four demerit points and a $548 fine
Northern Territory: Three demerit points and a $250 fine
For more on this story watch 10 News First at 5pm.
Contact Siobhan at firstname.lastname@example.org.