Man rages against phone fine - does his photo prove him right?

Brooke Rolfe
·News Reporter
·3-min read

A driver slapped with a hefty fine for allegedly being on his phone while driving believes photographic "evidence" sent to him actually proves otherwise.

The motorist Scott Phillips was photographed by a phone detection camera while driving north along the Hume Motorway away from Bowral, in the NSW Southern Highlands, he told Ben Fordham on 2GB Tuesday. 

Two weeks later he received an infringement notice in the mail with an image that was meant to incriminate him, but he argues it actually proves his innocence. 

"I had a look at the photo, and there is something blurry in my left hand resting against my leg, while the phone is clearly obviously on the dash," Mr Phillips told listeners. 

Phone detection camera photo of man holding something in his hand while driving.
This photo was captured by a phone detection camera and appears to show Scott Phillips' phone on its dock. Source: 2GB

The photo, shared to 2GB's website, appeared to show the phone being held in a cradle on the dashboard.

Mr Phillips said while he couldn't remember exactly what he had in his hand at the time, it could have been a chocolate or a pair of sunglasses. 

"It's definitely not my mobile phone, because you can see it on the dash," he said, arguing that he never used his phone while driving. 

The penalty for using a mobile device while driving in NSW is five demerit points and $349.

"If you can't definitely say that is obviously and definitely a phone, how do you get five demerit points and a $349 fine for something that might be a phone, but might be sunglasses, or might be chocolate?" Mr Phillips said. 

Fordham joked that it made sense that Mr Phillips could have been peckish for a chocolate bar, given the photo was taken at 12.01pm.

Phone dock containing phone attached to the windshield of a car.
Scott Phillips shared this photo of his phone dock attached to the windshield of his car. Source: 2GB

It's far from the first case of a driver disputing a NSW Revenue mobile phone infringement after being sent a photo of themselves. 

Steff Doney came forward in March after being caught allegedly holding her mobile phone while driving in Ingleside, in Sydney's north, in December last year. 

Ms Doney told A Current Affair she was sitting with her elbow on the car window and resting her hand on her face, arguing if she was using her mobile phone more of her hand would have been covered in the image snapped by the camera. 

She also sent her phone log to Revenue NSW to show she had not been on a call, but to no avail. 

"I've been on the road for 20 years and I've never lost a point, and now it's going to take me 10 years to get that clean record back so I'm pretty disappointed," she told the program.

Fines for using mobile phones while driving

Motorists in NSW risk a $349 fine and five demerit points if they are caught using their phone, while those in the ACT are fined $470 and four demerit points.

In Victoria, drivers are whacked with a $455 fine and four demerit points while West Australians are slugged with a $500 fine and three demerit points.

Those using a phone in South Australia can expect a $544 fine and three demerit points and Tasmanians are fined $300 and three demerit points.

Using your phone in the Northern Territory comes with a $500 fine and three demerit points, while Queensland will whack motorists with a $1000 fine and four demerit points.

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