No phone in drive-thru: Victoria Police
Can you use your phone to pay for your order in the drive-thru? When Victoria Police asked this question of Facebook users, the majority were surprised to have answered incorrectly. According to Police, in Victoria, if you intend to use your mobile phone to pay at the drive-thru window without breaking the law, you must apply the hand brake and switch the engine off.
So can you be fined for using your phone to pay in NSW? Unlike motorists south of the border, NSW drivers can safely use their phone to pay in a drive-thru without risking a fine. However, this was not always the case. In fact, the law only changed in November last year, in response to concerns that the road rules prevented drivers from using a mobile phone to make purchases in drive-thrus or at parking stations. Previously, drivers caught using their phone in these circumstances could be fined $344.
Now, NSW drivers are permitted to use their phone as a digital wallet as long as the vehicle is stationary and off road, in a car park, drive-through or driveway. However, rules about mobile phone use in other circumstances remain the same.
Be careful if you are grabbing a snack on a trip interstate – many states still prohibit paying with your phone unless your engine is turned off.
It is still an offence under section 300 of the Road Rules 2014 to use a mobile phone illegally while driving.
The rule states that the driver of a vehicle must not use a mobile phone while their vehicle is moving or is stationary but not parked unless:
- The phone is being used in an audio function (such as receiving a phone call or playing music) and the phone is secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle
- The phone is not being held by the driver, and the use of the phone does not require the driver to touch the phone at any time
Importantly, the law now states that the prohibition does not apply if the vehicle is stationary in a road related area and the phone:
- is functioning as a payment device to enable the driver to pay for goods or services that are required to be paid for in the road related area, or
- is being used to display an electronic coupon, voucher, card or similar article that requires the body of the phone to be held in close proximity to another device located in the road related area in order for the article to be used or redeemed, or
- is being used as an electronic device that enables the driver to enter another road related area or land adjacent to the road related area.
The penalty for illegally using a mobile phone while driving was raised to 5 demerit points in 2018.
This means that drivers who are caught using their phones in double demerits periods will accrue a total of 10 demerit points (out of a maximum of 13).
The demerit points will be accrued in addition to a fine of $344.
Illegal mobile phone use
It is still illegal to use your mobile phone in the following circumstances:
- While waiting at traffic lights
- While stuck in traffic
- Making/receiving a call on loudspeaker if your phone is in your lap
- Sending a text message, checking emails, taking photos etc