With the introduction of new rules from 31 March 2023, Victoria is all set to crack down on drivers who use smart devices while driving.
Victoria is rolling out $33.7 million investment as part of the Victorian Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030 to introduce new mobile phone and seatbelt detection camera technology that will help catch people using their mobile phones and not wearing their seatbelts while driving.
Announcing the roll out, Victoria’s Minister for Roads and Road Safety Melissa Horne said:
“Distraction is deadly – which is why we’re introducing these new road rules to protect the lives of Victorians. Everyone has a role to play in keeping our roads safe, so when you’re driving, please make the right choices – pay attention and don’t be distracted.”
The rules are expanded from mobile phones and visual display units to cover:
- Portable devices (unmounted mobile phones, tablets);
- Wearable devices (smartwatches, wearable heads-up display);
- Inbuilt devices (Information, navigation, and entertainment systems, heads-up display that is an inbuilt part of the vehicle);
- Mounted devices (Heads-up display, tablet, mobile phone, media player etc if securely mounted in or on a vehicle); and
- Motor bike helmet devices.
The penalty for using smart devices will attract a $555 fine and four demerit points. Further, if a driver is taken to court then the fine may escalate to $1849.
A person who drives a truck, taxi or ride share is permitted to do the following with a device:
- Accepting or rejecting a job
- Gathering information
- Maintaining safety and security
- Facilitating passenger movement
These drivers can’t scroll on a device or enter information or text while on the move.
Victoria’s Minister for Police Anthony Carbines said:
“Too many drivers continue to put lives at risk using mobile phones behind the wheel. We’re deterring this type of risky behaviour on our roads with these new road rules, as well as phone and seatbelt detection technology.
We need every motorist to make the right decisions when they’re behind the wheel. When they don’t, road safety cameras and Victoria Police are there to hold them accountable.”
According to these New Victorian road rules 2023, while full licence holders’ limit is 11 demerit points over a three-year period, learner and probationary drivers will lose their permit or licence if they accumulate more than four demerit points in a year.
This includes use of smart device that is securely mounted in a cradle. So, from March 2023, a driver can’t enter text, numbers or symbols, scroll or take video calls, nor can you view videos, games, photos, emails or social media.
A driver is allowed to manage an audio call, stream music, adjust volume or use navigation or any other function designed to help you operate the vehicle.
The new road rules apply to all riders and operators of bicycles, electric scooters, “recreational vehicles” such as skateboards and rollerblades, and electric personal transporters.
A three-month warning period will apply from the technology’s activation before drivers face infringement and demerit penalties.