A 19-year-old woman is fighting a hefty fine for allegedly using her phone while driving, claiming an obvious detail in the infringement photo can help to prove her innocence.
Queensland local Lillian Morrow was on the M1 near the Gold Coast when a mobile phone camera detected her supposedly holding up a phone to her face, resulting in a $1000 fine and potential loss of licence.
However the P-plater said it was "ridiculously clear" in the photos that her phone was on the passenger seat next to her.
"On the passenger seat though you can so clearly see my phone sitting there," Ms Morrow told A Current Affair. "I'm quite confident that I would have been holding a vape, just having an itch, as you do, driving along.
"Straight up I saw the photo and I thought, 'I'm taking this to court'."
Claiming that she was not in the wrong, Ms Morrow said it was "unfair" to cop four demerit points and a complete loss of license for three months as a red P-plater for "something that (she) simply didn't do".
Speaking to a solicitor, Bill Potts told A Current Affair that contesting fines like this at court can be complex. "Whilst the picture may speak a thousand words — driving a 100kms on the highway — it's a very, very narrow opportunity to prove anything," Mr Potts told the publication.
"Often we are seeing people get off the matter simply because the photographs are unclear or because there is a reasonable defence."
Certain cases of distracted driving can be punishable
While holding your phone and driving is illegal, NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said the rules around some other cases of distracted driving (such as vaping) can be unclear.
"You might be doing something that on the surface is legal but if police deem that in the act of doing that, you lost control of the vehicle and had an accident, you could be fined," Mr Khoury told Yahoo News Australia. "That could be anything up to eating a hamburger or putting on your lipstick or having a drink."
According to Budget Direct, distracted driving is the primary cause of nearly 30 per cent of fatal crashes in Australia.
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