Driver slammed over tiny photo detail after copping fine for using phone

The male driver was caught on camera using his mobile phone while driving but says it was not what it seemed.

A man who was busted using his phone while driving has been ridiculed by road users online after asking if he had a chance of getting out of the fine.

Taking to Facebook, the man shared a picture of himself behind the wheel taken by a mobile phone detection camera and sought advice on how he could have his fine voided. He claims things weren't as they appear in the image and hoped for a way out.

"I got fined for using my phone while driving but it was in a cradle mounted to the car. I was using Google maps for directions," he explained. "Does anyone with experience know if I have grounds for an appeal? Do you think there’s a possibility of this outcome being overturned?"

Driver captured on mobile phone detection camera using phone in car.
The male driver claimed he was using Google Maps when he was busted holding his phone while driving. Source: Facebook

In the photo, the man has one hand on the steering with the other clasped around the device in front of him. His body is slouched over with an elbow resting on the centre console, leading many to believe he was clearly in the wrong.

"The fine was for using a mobile device while driving and that’s exactly what you're doing, they will just tell you to set your maps before leaving, good luck even getting a response if that’s your best argument," one argued.

"Cradle or not your hand is clearly seen gripping the phone. I think this will be a tough one to get out of," another said, and dozens more agreed.

Debate erupts over driver's actions

A debate erupted in the comments about whether the man was holding the phone or simply touching it. Some pointed out it's permissible to touch a phone in a cradle for the purpose of a phone call, for audio playing functions, or navigation.

"Is your hand the cradle?" one person cheekily wrote. "Clearly in your hand, not in the cradle," someone else added.

"How does that cradle work when your hand is clearly around back of phone?" a third said. "Guilty, pay the fine," another simply wrote.

Rush hour traffic gridlock on busy Sydney main road.  Looking between two lanes of stationary vehicles with brake lights illuminated plus both red and green traffic lights.  A public transport bus is in the distance.  Horizontal, heat haze (shimmer).
Fines for mobile phone use vary in each Australian state. Source: Getty

There were a few, however, who thought he had a chance of getting off with some saying he definitely "has grounds to contest".

"You’d be let off, just take it to court and explain you were stabilising your hand while pressing the answer button or whatever you were doing," one wrote. Others encouraged him to "fight it".

What is the penalty for using a mobile phone while driving?

The fines for mobile phone use while driving differ across the country. In NSW, the penalty is five demerit points and $362 while drivers in Victoria will cop an on-the-spot fine of $545 and four demerit points.

In Queensland, the maximum penalty is $1078 and four demerit points while Tasmanian drivers are hit with a $344 fine and three demerit points. Those in the Northern Territory will pay $500 and three demerit points, and in Western Australia, it’s $1000 and four demerit points.

South Australians caught using their phone incur a $534 fine plus a $60 victims of crime levy, on top of three demerit points, and those in the ACT are fined $498 and slapped with three demerit points.

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